Sunday, January 9, 2011

Southwestern Vegetable Paella

This weekend I collected all the cookbooks that I wanted to cook out of and compiled a list of ingredients for about five meals.  As I began this process I was excited to be getting the variety I want in my meals and cooking as well as getting my boyfriend involved so he too will enjoy my cooking experience.

First up is a cookbook called Southwestern Vegetarian by Stephan Pyles.  It is an out of print book, but you can find it in used bookstores or online used books.  I really like vegetarian books because they get me to cook with more vegetables than I otherwise would, and I always find that meat is easy to add to these meals to satisfy my boyfriend's desire for meat in each meal.  This way we are both happy as he gets his meat and I get more variety of vegetables.

This is a fairly simple recipe to execute as long as you have done all your chopping ahead of time.  Then, once you begin cooking, you can add everything as you need and ease into a relaxing meal.  The following list is my twist on the paella as I added spicy sausage and changed out a few of the ingredients as they were not available.

Southwestern Vegetable Paella
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup freshly shelled peas
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1/2 inch lengths  (I used frozen.)
1/2 cup corn kernals
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 poblano chile, seeded and diced (I used 3 different chilies as no poblanos were available)
4-6 large cherry tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon Chipotle Chile tabasco sauce
1 pound spicy Italian sausage

1 cups white rice
12 saffron threads, minced
6 cups boiling chicken stock
6-8 artichokes (I used ones from a jar.)

In a saute pan, cook the sausage until no longer pink, drain.  Then in a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat.  Add the onion and saute until the onion starts to brown.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Add the paprika, peas, beans, corn, carrots, bell pepper, chile, tomatoes and artichokes.  Cook until the vegetables start to soften and release their juices.  Add the cooked sausage, chipotle sauce, rice and saffron.  Stir to combine.  Bring the stock to a boil and add to the pan.  Bring to a boil again and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Once rice is nearly cooked, season with salt and/or pepper (though I didn't use either in this recipe).  Cook a further 5 minutes or until the rice is tender, but not mushy.  Serve garnished with parsley and lemon, if desired.
This recipe with develop more flavor as it rest overnight.  It is also very good reheated.  Although it looks like a lot of ingredients, each one adds color and flavor to the dish to make the end result complex in flavors and appetizing.  I would also encourage the use of more vegetables as with the two cups of rice, I felt like I could have had even more than were there.

Next up:  Yellowtail Hot Pot
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