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almost paella

The best recipes for me are those that just “boom”- came out from scratch. Scratch like leftovers, bit-of-this-piece-of-that, that are waiting to be made into something delicious and repeatable. So last night, I was already having one of those “it’s already 7pm and I have no idea what to cook for dinner” when everything fell into place, and thirty minutes later me and the hubby were helping ourselves to our second plate. What’s the secret? I happily live by my kitchen rule, ” When all else fails, there’s always paella” (or at least my version of it) Rice, veggies, spices, some meat, and you’re good to go! My title said almost paella since I used a different rice variety (the original dish calls for a bomba or callasparra rice), used bacon fat (instead of olive oil), seasoned with spices other than saffron, and most all– lacked the paellera pan. If you want a brief history on the dish, click here. I used a stainless wide pan somewhat similar to a wok with a see through cover, which made it easier for me to see if the dish is already cooked without letting the steam out.

ServesĀ  4-5

Ingredients:

1/2 cup bacon, chopped

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 carrot, cubed

1 small red bell pepper, sliced thinly

1/2 cup button mushrooms, sliced

1 small eggplant, cubed

8 pcs string beans, cut to an inch

1/4 cup red wine

1 1/2 cup long grain rice

3 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon cajun spice mix

1/4 teaspoon spanish paprika

1 piece laurel leaf

1/2 teaspoon salt

Extra salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Procedure:

Heat pan on low fire and add in bacon pieces. Melt the fat and this will serve as oil for the dish. Cook bacon until slightly crispy and most of the fat has melted. Increase heat to medium fire. Add onions, then garlic. Let it cook until garlic is golden then add carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, and string beans. Deglaze with red wine and cook of the alcohol until the liquid has reduced to half. Mix in rice and make sure that it’s completely coated with the oil from the bacon. Add the chicken broth. Mix in the rest of the ingredients: all herbs and spices. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for around 20 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked. Serve with sliced lemons.

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