November 9, 2010 at 3:24 am Leave a comment

So, maybe you’re a paella veteran–cooked & eaten many a time.  Maybe you’re like me and you’ve never tried saffron, much less paella.  But, now is the time.  Why?  Because paella doesn’t require a bunch of fresh veggies (good for winter months) but still tastes  vibrant.  From what I can tell, this dish is to the Spanish as pasta is to the Italians or Haggis to the Scots (clearly at a loss on national dishes).  In other words, if you mess it up, Spanish grandmas chase you down the street and whack you on the head with their paella pan.  Most paella recipes have mussels, shrimp, some have chicken, chorizo, etc., none of which are options here.  We’re using artichokes, soy chorizo and edamame, though there are many possibilities.  Let’s make it! 

Starring (front row): 1/2 a cup edamame (or peas), 12-15 quarters of artichoke hearts (about half a bag from Trader Joe’s or one jar), 6 ounces soy chorizo
Middle Row: 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes, drained, an onion, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 4 cloves garlic minced (a heavy tablespoon) about 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon saffron, 3/4 teaspoon paprika (not smoked), 1/4 teaspoon thyme, 1 1/2 cups arborio rice, 3 cups vegetable broth.
Note: you will need a pan that can both go on the stove and go in the oven.  If you have a skillet with a silicone handle, you can wrap it in tin foil.

Preheat the oven to 450.  Warm up your olive oil and chop an onion.  Saute the onion till it softens.

While that’s cooking, pop your vegetable broth in the microwave for about 3 minutes 30 seconds so its nice and warm.  Add in your saffron.

Never used saffron before?  Me neither.  What I do know is that saffron is expensive, so I just dumped mine in from the bag rather than risk wasting some threads while measuring.

When the onions are soft, add in your garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Pour in your rice, paprika and thyme and give it a good stir.

Stir and add in your tomatoes.

Add in your warm broth (that has saffron in it)

Allow the mixture to come to a boil, and let it boil for about 5 minutes.

This might remind you a bit of our risotto adventures (except paella is arguably much easier to make than risotto).
Stir in your edamame/peas (no need to thaw) and smooth out the top with your spoon.

Arrange your artichoke hearts and soy chorizo (again, no need to thaw) in a semi-attractive pattern.

Into the oven (no lid) for 15 minutes. 
The first post (up at the top) shows what it looks like when it comes out of the oven.  Enjoy!


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