Almost-vegetable paella

Almost-vegetable paella

This is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s vegetable paella recipe, using what we had to hand. It was a big hit. Well, I call anything the children eat 4 portions of a hit, especially as William decided picking the vegetables out was too much bother, and it was so tasty, so he just ate the lot. Well, not the prawns, but I’m not complaining.

Served 2 adults and 3 children.

  • Olive oil
  • Large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 long red peppers cut into long, thin slices
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • half teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • half teaspoon cayenne pepper (I overdid this, which may have been the secret of its success).
  • some saffron threads
  • 400g or 450g rice – I used risotto rice
  • 200ml sherry
  • 500ml or more of stock – I used chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • a few handfuls of frozen peas
  • 23 mini plum tomatoes, halved (should have been 24, but I went with 23… again maybe the secret of its success…)
  • small tin of pitted black olives
  • packet of prawns
  • parsley

Heat the oil in a big, flat pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes.
Add the peppers and fennel, fry for 6 more minutes on a medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the spices (aside from the saffron) and the rice and cook on a medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Chuck in the sherry and the saffron. Inhale deeply.
Boil for a minute and add the stock and a good pinch of Maldon sea salt.
Turn the heat right down and simmer for 20 minutes, adding extra water or stock if needed. During this time add the olives, prawns, peas and tomatoes. When cooked chuck some parsley on top.

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