Arroz con verduras , Mediterranean vegetable paella

Great for a gathering of friends or family. If only making for two, do as below and save the left overs for the next day- sometimes even tastier, as all the flavours are absorbed!! Better than a cheese sandwich for lunch!

Ingredients (4 people)

 1 onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

6- 8 mushrooms, sliced

½ courgette, diced

4 artichoke hearts, quarted

200g tin crushed tomatoes

360g ‘bomba’ rice or similar round grain rice

750ml- 1l vegetable stock

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

1 tspn sugar

1 pinch cumin

 For the ‘picada’

Small pinch saffron

2 tspns pine nuts

1 slice fried French bread

1 garlic clove

 Equipment

Ideally you would do this with a paellera – the typical shallow round dish used for making paella and other similar dishes. If not, use a medium sized earthenware dish.

Pestle and mortar

Put a dash of olive oil in the paellera and put on a low- medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes before stiring in the rest of the vegetables with a decent pinch of salt and pepper.

Once soft, add the rice and stir well, add the tomato and mix in, add he cumin, sugar and a little more salt and pepper if needed; followed by 750ml of the vegetable stock, stir once and then leave to cook for 15minutes. The key to this dish is controlling the cooking of the rice and the amount of liquid in the dish. We want to stir the ingredients as little as possible, keep an eye that the rice doesn´t stick to the pan and that there is always a little liquid so that the rice doesn´t dry out. Add more vegetable stock as, or when required.

To make the Picada

Peel the garlic clove , chop roughly and put into the mortar with the pine nuts, the broken-up french bread and a pinch of saffron. Crush all the ingredients together well with the pestle. Put to one side.

After the 15minutes add the picada and stir once. Cook for a further 5- 10 minutes. Check the rice to see whether it is cooked. If done, remove from the heat and place in the oven for a further five minutes so that it can absorb any extra liquid and give that final touch that a Spanish rice dish requires. Remove from the oven and leave for five minutes covered by newspaper before serving.

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