Saturday, June 11, 2011

A little sunshine on a rainy day...

Winter is my absolutely most hated time of the year.
The cold, the rain the damp UGH!
To chase the winter blues away I import the sunshiny flavours of Spain in this delicious white bean and vegetable paella. Scented with saffron and smoked paprika it makes the weather almost bearable...

Saute the vegetables gently to bring out the sweet flavours and create a smooth base for your paella.

Don't be tempted to stir the paella, once you add the stock let it simmer gently till all the liquid is absorbed. Add the peas towards the end of cooking so they maintain their bright green colour.

This is a hearty one dish meal from the Spanish rice growing region of Valencia

Serves: 8 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes (not including bean soaking and cooking time)

knife, chopping board, paella pan or large, wide heavy based pot, cup, measuring jug

½ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic
1 large green capsicum, diced
1 large red capsicum, diced
1 cup flageolet or navy beans, soaked and cooked till tender
1 cup butter or lima beans, soaked and cooked till tender
250 grams green roman or continental beans, cut into 10cm lengths
4 baby artichoke hearts, peeled and sliced (put in acidulated water)*
2 ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced
2 cups Spanish calaspara or bomba rice (short grain)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon (hot or sweet) smoked paprika
pinch saffron threads soaked in 1 cup warm water
1.5 litres vegetable stock (depends on how much is absorbed by the rice)

1 cup frozen peas
¼ cup roughly chopped parsley
Lemon wedges

1. Heat the oil in a paella pan or a wide heavy based pot
2. Fry the garlic, carrot and onion briefly before adding the capsicums, cook for 1 minute
3. Add the artichoke hearts and cook for another minute
4. Add the green beans, the tomatoes cook for 1 minute, stir in the rice and season.
5. Add 1 litre of stock and add the saffron water and hot paprika
6. Boil for 10 minutes
7. Add the peas and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes adding more stock if necessary
8. Do not stir the paella!
9. Leave to stand briefly before serving from the pan sprinkled with parsley and lemon wedges

* If artichokes are not in season, garnish dish with marinated artichoke hearts.

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