Smokin’ Hot Paella

When I first thought of veggie paella, I dismissed it. But then I thought, why not? It doesn’t HAVE to be chock-a-block with seafood to be delicious… So I went for it, and I’m so glad I did. The results are super tasty and versatile, allowing this paella to be a main dish or a side. Let’s put on some flamenco music, put on some pretty flowing skirts and clunky heels, and go to town (in the kitchen).

What this photo doesn't show is the delightfully crispy bottom... So crispy...

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tsp cold-pressed olive oil
  • 250 g edemame (if you want you can substitute cubed seitan or those fake shrimp)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup arborio or Valencia rice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (think about making Fire Lentils if you don’t know what to do with the rest of the can)
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika (or regular paprika with 1 teeny tiny drop of liquid smoke)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch of saffron, crumbled
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 125-250 g green peas (depending on how much you like peas and whether you use edemame or seitan in the recipe)

In a large skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers. Season your protein of choice with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Cook over high heat until lightly browned on one side (about 2 minutes). Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the rice to the skillet and cook until opaque (about 2 minutes). Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, garlic and saffron and cook, stirring, until the rice is toasted and sizzling deliciously (about a minute).

Add the veggie broth and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the rice is crunchy and about half the broth has been absorbed (about 10 minutes). Lower the heat and simmer until the rice is nearly tender and the liquid is soupy but slightly reduced (about 8 minutes). Stir in the peas, lay the protein on top, roasted side up (clearly difficult if you’re using edemame, so don’t worry about it). Cover and simmer until the seitan is cooked through (if you’re using seitan) and the rice is tender (about 2 minutes). Raise the heat for one final minute or two and cook, uncovered within stirring, to get a nice crispy bottom. Snap, snap, snap, Olé!  That’s flamenco-speak for let’s eat.

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