Recipe of the week – 18th February 2013 – Vegetable Paella

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I love this version of the classic Spanish paella, and find that unlike some other similar recipes there really is no feeling of absence of the seafood or meat elements and is fully satisfying. I have loosely based this upon one I had at a festival a couple of years ago.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 medium onion red or white, finely chopped

4 tbs olive oil

1 each of red, yellow and orange pepper (or a combination of any), finely sliced

1 medium aubergine, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

250g frozen peas

10 cherry or mini plum tomatoes, halved

3 bay leaves

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

Large pinch of saffron threads

200g paella rice

150ml medium sherry

500ml hot vegetable stock (from bouillon)

A handful pitted olives, halved

3 tbs fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Method

1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan or wok and gently shallow fry the onion for approximately 5 minutes then add the peppers and diced aubergine and fry gently for a further 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, bay leaves and spices and stir in thoroughly. Slowly add the rice and stir continuously for 3 minutes before adding the saffron and sherry.

3. Bring to the boil then add the stock and season. Reduce the heat and simmer gently uncovered for approximately 25 minutes.

4. Add the frozen peas and chopped tomatoes and stir gently. Take off the heat, cover and allow rest for 15 minutes.

5. Add the olives and parsley and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice if preferred then season to taste.

Serve immediately with plenty of freshly baked crusty bread.

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