The first thing I should mention is that I am no Pioneer Woman. My photos are taken with fairly decent Sony digital camera but it’s just a point-and-shoot type. I got Paint Shop Pro for Christmas but haven’t even installed it yet. So the picture above is the result of “Oh, I ought to take a picture before we start digging in!” and nothing more. I do think it might be fun to learn some photography skills and eventually be able to post some beautiful food shots on this blog. However, it’s not anywhere near the top of my list right now.
Now, about this recipe…I found it on the Meatless Monday website and since I had most of the ingredients or reasonable substitutes for them, I thought it sounded like a good choice. Our son recently became a vegetarian and after watching Food, Inc. we all are trying to limit our meat to organic, humanely raised sources. Those are nearly impossible to buy in our little rural town so until I make it to the nearest city for a shopping trip, we are all eating meatless, for the most part.
If you already know me, you’ll know that I am constitutionally incapable of following a recipe to the letter and always end up tweaking it in some way. I’ll post the original recipe but then try to explain how I altered it. If you aren’t an experienced, intuitive cook, you’ll do better to follow the original version of any recipes I post. I’ll *try* to be clear about the way I alter recipes but I don’t measure stuff so some aspects will be a little vague. So, after that little warning, here we go:
Preparation time: 1 hour
The green, red, and yellow bell peppers add a vibrant splash of color to the pale rice, while the tangy artichoke hearts, delicate peas, and juicy tomatoes add flavor and nutrients.
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz) olive oil
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cups (32 fl. oz) vegetable broth
- 2 cups (16 oz) rice
- 4 medium tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1 cup (4 oz) green peas
- 2 cups (14 oz) artichoke hearts, tough outer leaves removed and quartered
- 1 lemon
- Lemon wedges, to garnish
Heat the olive oil in a paella pan and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is tender and translucent. At the same time, heat the broth in a separate saucepan until simmering.
Pour the rice into the paella pan and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and tomatoes and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the simmering vegetable broth and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until almost tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the peas.
Sprinkle the artichoke hearts with a few drops of lemon juice and arrange over the rice in an attractive pattern. Continue cooking until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
Serve the paella straight from the pan, garnished with lemon wedges.
There are only three of us so I reduced the quantity. I am saving my organic tomatoes for another dish this week and still had a couple of cans of diced tomatoes in the pantry so I substituted those (after recently learning about the dangers of canned tomatoes, I won’t be buying anymore).
The recipe doesn’t call for any seasoning which just doesn’t fly in this household. I seasoned with a tiny bit of salt, some Creole seasoning (I put it in everything but chocolate cake) and a generous amount of black pepper.
The artichoke heart thing wasn’t terribly clear to me (fresh? canned?) but I had a jar of marinated artichoke hearts in the pantry so that’s what I used. I drained them first and then arranged them on top of the paella. Because the artichokes were in a vinegar marinade, I didn’t think the lemon juice was necessary so I just skipped that and the lemon wedges. Two of us sprinkled a bit of feta cheese on top of our portions and that was quite delicious. I think some black olives would be good, too.
I served this with cornbread and a fresh fruit salad. All three of us declared this recipe a winner. I’d like to try it with brown rice at some point. I think if I partially cooked the brown rice before adding to the other ingredients it would work. This is the sort of recipe that is very flexible. Any number of other vegetables would be good in this. I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with this in the future.