Often we don’t make rice at home but I love this dish for when I want something that feeds several guests, feels comforting but has a bit of a festive vibe. Add in a few tapas dishes for appetizers, pour some red wine and you have a whole vibe.
Paella is one of those dishes that you can add whatever kinds of meat and vegetables you may have in the fridge. This vegetarian version is made with eggplant, string beans and mushrooms as the main vegetables.
1/2 tsp saffron threads
2 tbsp hot water
6 tbsp olive oil
1 Spanish onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 large eggplant, cubed
1 cup medium grain paella rice
2 1/5 cups chicken stock
1 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 oz white mushrooms
4 oz green beans, halved
14 oz canned pinto beans
Salt and Pepper
Put the saffron threads and water into a small bowl and let infuse for a few minutes.
Heat the oil in a paella pan or wide shallow skillet. Add the onion to the pan and cook over medium heat stirring for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, bell peppers, eggplant and cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook stirring constantly for 1 minute or until glossy and coated.
Pour the stock, add the tomatoes, saffron and the water it was soaking in, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer, shaking the skillet frequently and stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
Stir in the mushrooms, green beans, and pinto beans with the juices from their can. Cook for an additional 10 minutes then serve immediately.