This has been the month of cooking experiments at the Barker household. As you may have noticed, I am enamored with olive oil, garlic, and other Mediterranean staples. My favorite Mediterranean dish I've ever made is the farmer's paella. It's fairly quick, easy, and wonderfully colorful. It's also probably the most nutritious thing I have ever eaten. It's basically fresh veggies and rice in vegetable broth. This is actually so wonderful that I'm going to post how to make it. I don't know if anyone will want to try it, but I highly recommend that you do.
First, what you need. It's flexible, but the basic stuff I use are as follows:
2 cloves garlic
A nice olive oil (3tbl or so for this recipe)
A yellow onion
2 cups Veggie broth (I use low sodium)
1 red bell pepper
1 cup arborio rice
1 lb tomatoes (four normal roma tomatoes are roughly a pound)
6-8 baby carrots
1 bag frozen lima beans
1 bag frozen peas
pepper (NOT Pepa)
some slivered almonds for garnishing
I cook the entire recipe in one big cast iron, save for the first bit, which I simmer in a small sauce pan.
First, simmer the broth with a 1/4 teaspoon of the saffron threads. (I just toss in a small bit. I don't like measuring unless I have too. It's why I'm a good cook and a lousy baker.) Don't boil the sauce, just get a light simmer.
In the big skillet, saute the garlic and onions for a few minutes.
Add the bell pepper, and cook a few more minutes.
Add the tomatoes, diced fairly fine, and all of the juices.
Stir in the rice, uncooked. It'll cook up nicely in the next few steps.
Mix all that up fairly well, then add the broth.
Simmer this on medium high heat, then turn it down.
Add the lima beans and the baby carrots. For tender carrots chop them up pretty fine.
Cover it and simmer on low-medium heat for ten minutes.
Add the frozen peas. (I never use the whole package. I use a half cup or so)
Simmer for a few more minutes. It should be creamy and thick. If it's runny, or the rice isn't soft, leave it a few minutes.
Serve immediately with slivered almonds on each bowl.
Make sure to honor the Simpsons and order each guest (ORDER them) to say, "Yo, paella man! Wing one over here!" before they get served.
This is a wonderful and wholesome wintry delight. Viri even likes it. ("Papa, this is not gross!")
This is adapted from the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, my new favorite cookbook. Buy one today!