Our Daring Cooks’ September 2012 hostess was Inma of la Galletika. Inma brought us a taste of Spain and challenged us to make our very own delicious Paella!
I have been wanting to try paella for a long time, but something kept holding me back.
Perhaps it was the fact that paella is, traditionally, a very seafood heavy dish. And we don't eat much seafood in our house. Which makes it funny that it's been on my list...
But this month's challenge not only gave me the final push that I needed, but provided options that better suited my family than what I'd always though of when hearing paella.
Our wonderful hostess Inma provided a vegetarian version of the recipe, which is what I went with. But, of course, I adjusted it for the vegetables that I had on hand.
Which was a lot.
Trust me when I say that the longest and hardest part of this recipe is the prep work. All of those vegetables needs to be chopped. Which takes a lot of time. And a lot of bowls.
If you notice, I un-vegetarianized the recipe... I added chicken...
But once all the cutting and chopping was done, it was time to cook. I used the biggest pan that I have, which is much smaller than a standard paella pan. But each vegetable (or sometimes pair of vegetables) is sauteed and then pulled off to the pan to make room for the next one... It takes a bit of time, but it is not too difficult.
Another thing that I was excited for with this recipe is that it gave me a chance to use this:
My wonderful mother in law included this bottle of saffron in a gift bag for me one time, and I have been looking for the perfect time to give it a try. Well, saffron is a key spice in paella, so it worked out perfectly!
Anyway, once everything has been sauteed, EVERYTHING is returned to the pan, spiced, liquid is added (chicken stock, in my case), and then, when the liquid comes to a boil, rice is added. Finally, the pan is covered to let everything finish cooking.
I think I added too much liquid... Not quite sure what happened there, but even once all of the rice was fully cooked, absorbing as much of the liquid as it needed, my paella was still pretty wet.
But it was still delicious. I am not sure if the extra liquid was due to a conversion error on my part, or due to the different vegetables that I used... either way, this came out a bit more like a chicken/vegetable/rice stew than what I think of as a traditional paella. But again - it was delicious. And I am glad that I finally gave the dish a shot!
Inma, thank you very much for giving me the kick I needed to give this delicious dish a try.
To see the other paellas cooked up in the kitchen this month, check them out here.
(recipe as posted in September Daring Cooks' Challenge)
Servings: 4 people
9 oz (250 gm) cauliflower
2 red (bell) peppers (capsicums)
3½ oz (100 gm) green beans
2 oz (50 gm) shelled peas
3½ oz (100 gm) shelled tender beans
A bunch of tender garlic
2 natural artichokes
1 eggplant (aubergine)
2 medium potatoes
2 ripe tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
14 oz (400 gm) of rice
1¼ cups (300 ml) oil
saffron, paprika and salt
12 cups (3 liters) of water
Cut the cauliflower in pieces, wash and rinse it.
Wash the peppers, cut them, remove seeds and stem.
Cut both edges of the green beans, wash them and chop them.
Peel and chop the garlic
Clean the hard leaves of the artichoke, cut the edges and chop them soaking in water with lemon juice.
Peel and chop the eggplants and potatoes.
Peel and mince the tomatoes and garlic.
In a paellera heat the oil and fry in the following order:
The eggplant and peppers, remove and reserve
Then the potatoes, cauliflower, artichoke, green beans, beans, peas, garlic and finally the tomatoes and the chopped garlic.
Add 1 teaspoon of paprika and 3 liters of hot water.
Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of saffron.
Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Add the eggplant and the peppers. Cook 15 additional minutes.
Add the rice, distribute it in the paellera.
Cook over high heat for 10 minutes and gradually reduce the heat to medium and cook for other 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes and it will be ready to serve.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
You can store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Freezing is not allowed.