Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vegetable Paella

Sometimes I tend to hold on to things for a little too long - I just get attached and I don't know when an appropriate time to say 'goodbye' is. So, the other day I was chopping vegetables on my cutting board and when I chopped straight through the cutting board and onto my counter top I took that as the signal that it was time to splurge on a new cutting board.

Behold the new cutting board. She even folds in half so that I can easily slide my chopped goodness straight into the pot. Isn't she beautiful?
But I digress. This post is about a delicious little rice-based dish we like to call "Paella". I recently came across the Cafe Zupa blog and promptly found this Vegetable Paella and couldn't wait to try it. I loved that it had a lot of flavors mixed together but had familiar ingredients. Plus, I loved that it had Swiss Chard in it. Anytime I can mix up our normal vegetables with other ones, I get excited.
Well, some of my excitement ended when I found out that the warehouse that provides my grocery store with produce is currently on strike! So, I settled for collared greens instead, which I thought were delicious in spite of themselves. I also found myself just going crazy for the edamame in the dish as well. They were the perfect amount of crunchy. Edamame are just soy beans. Don't be scared of them. If you buy them frozen and shelled at your grocery store, they're just as easy to use as lima beans (only WAY tastier). There's nothing intimidating about them - go out on a limb, just try them!The consensus about this recipe was that in and of itself, it was delicious. One of my favorite rice-based dishes. However, I couldn't eat it every single day. For what it is, it's a 5 star flavor - but it would get a little heavy after a couple of days. So there you have it - it's a great dish - and healthy, too for a treat every now and again.

Oh, and I served it with Naan bread and a spritz of lime as recommended: perfection.

Here were my substitutions:
1) My grocery store didn't have any saffron threads in stock, so I used Turmeric (an orange spice, found in the regular spice section) as advised by a grocery store associate. Worked like a charm. And much cheaper (I already had it at home). If you don't want to spend the money - just skip it - it's as much for the color as for the taste.
2) I just used some short-grain rice I had in the cupboard
3) Again, I used Collared Greens instead of Swiss Chard. I just used the top 50% of the leaf, before you get to the thicker part of the stalk.
4) I skipped the chili oil altogether.
5) I used black beans (the recipe says to use whatever you want).

5 stars (with the caveat...) =)

Recipe below and here.

Vegetable Paella

adapted from healthy eating

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
1/2 cup water
olive oil
3 large shallots, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/4 cup arborio rice, rinsed
1 Tablespoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups vegetable stock
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 bunch swiss chard leaves, shredded
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and cute in quarters
1 can beans (any variety)
cilantro leaves
chili oil
a few limes

Fry the saffron threads on medium to low heat (do not use oil) until darkened. Remove from heat and when cool, crumble into a small bowl and pour 1/2 cup warm water on top, let sit.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onion and red pepper, cooking until the onion softens then add garlic. After a minute add in the rice, paprika and curry powder, mixing to coat. Pour in the saffron and water, stock (add 1/2 cup if omitting the saffron), tomatoes, and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for twenty minutes.

Uncover, stir in shelled edamame, chard, artichoke hearts, and beans. Cook uncovered until heated through.

Serve with coriander, a drizzle of chili oil and a small spritz of fresh lime juice.

This is delicious with garlic naan or another flatbread.

1 comment:

  1. I have one word for you - Russo's. I was told about this place last year and just never went, I am so sad I didn't. This has become my once a week place. They have amazing selection, everything is so fresh and the prices are amazing. I have gotten tons of fresh veggies, fruits and baked goods and never spent over $30. Anyways, just a suggestion while Shaws is on strike. Let me know if you want to go sometime.