Earlier this week I didn’t have a lot in the food stores but I realised I had all the necessary ingredients to make a veggie Paella. I love Paella, pronounced ‘Pie yay ah’, it reminds me of my friend Anja who taught me to cook it, of the Do lectures, of photo shoots and of lunches at Ultracomida with the girls in Cardigan, West Wales.
All of these Paella were made by Anja in the biggest Paella pan I have ever seen.
It also reminds me of visiting my step daughter in Mallorca, sunny happy days
I posted the photo of the Paella on Facebook and my not so little sister, Jenny asked for the recipe so here it is.
This serves 2-3. I made it in a Paella pan but you can make it in a shallow pan.
- 1 cup paella rice (or Arborio risotto rice if you cant find paella rice)
- 2 or 3 baby aubergines (eggplant) with the stalk ends removed
- a handfull of green beans, topped & tailed
- red / green / yellow / orange pepper deseeded, about a hand full of whichever you prefer, or a mixture, I used red, yellow and green.
- a fresh tomato chopped
- a handful of frozen peas or sweetcorn
- an onion, peeled and chopped finely
- 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
- a pinch of saffron
- veggie stock roughly 750ml but you might need more or less depending on how the rice absorbs the liquid
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- green & black olives, a handful
- a lemon
- olive oil
- flat leaf parsley, leaves removed and chopped roughly
Put the pan on a medium heat to warm through and a dash of oil.
Slice the aubergine to 1cm rounds, with the skin on and fry gently until golden brown, then remove and put to one side.
Add some more oil if the pan is dry and fry the onion & garlic until lightly golden.
Add the rice, stir in with the onions and make sure all is covered in a good coating of oil, stir around for a minute or two until the rice looks transparent.
Add the chopped peppers, tomatoes and paprika and stir in.
Boil the water and add the stock cube and the saffron strands and leave for a few minutes to infuse and dissolve. Then add to the pan, gradually by pouring all around the pan, it should cover the rice. Shake the pan from side to side to make sure the stock is distributed throughout.
Turn the heat down and let everything simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
DO NOT stir the paella, it mushes up the rice and makes it more like a risotto. Just shake the pan gentky to agitate and make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the pan. Top up with stock if it starts to stick or get dry.
When the rice is almost cooked but still has a slight bite to it, sprinkle the green beans, aubergine, sweetcorn/peas on top and cover with a lid for 5 minutes.
Then remove from the heat. Add a sprinkle of olives, a sprinkling of parsley and a good squeeze of lemon juice and serve.
Delicious with a good cold crisp dry white wine and a sunny day.
Note: I haven’t added any salt, I don’t add salt generally, I don’t find we need it, as we have never had it, and the olives in this recipe have enough salt in them. You might jot agree with me here, just add it if you feel its necessary.