Monday, April 14, 2014

Chickpea Paella

This paella is so pretty – spectacular, in fact. If you've never made paella, then you might be surprised at how simple it is to create such a special dish. All you need is time, a low flat oven proof pan and saffron. If you have a paella pan, awesome! If not, I think a rimmed baking sheet would work in a pinch. A metal pan will give you the best result – a crispy, chewy, golden-brown bottom layer. I don’t really have quantities today –just trust your kitchen instincts and give this a try!

Here’s what you need:
Vegetable broth, warmed with a pinch of saffron (don't be shy)
Uncooked white rice
Olive oil (don't be shy)
Chick peas
Other various vegetables cut to bite size pieces. You can see I used red peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes and snap peas. Lemon wedges are also delish in paella. (Peas are classic also.)

Here’s what you do:
Place the paella pan on low heat and coat it liberally with olive oil. Sauté the rice and chick peas in the oil, stirring constantly until the rice loses its pure white color. Carefully place the pan in a hot oven (350 degrees) and carefully ladle in some warm, saffron broth. Cover the rice with broth. Close the oven and wait about 5 minutes. Without stirring, add more broth and wait another 5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Continue doing this until the rice seems done but resist the temptation to stir! I often drizzle more olive oil around the perimeter of the pan to help create a crispy edge.

When the rice is almost done, begin to add the veggies, in a decorative way. Add harder veg first and allow to bake before adding the softer veg. If using lemon wedges, add them last.

That’s it! Simple, right? Serve with salad and a big glass of red wine. 

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