Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hearts of Palm and Mushroom Paella

(serves 6)

2 cups paella rice
5 cups not-chicken or other veggie stock
1/2 teaspoon of saffron

1/2 cup olive oil
10 oz package of assorted mushrooms
1 medium white onion
1 red bell pepper
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 large tomatoes or one small container of cherry tomatoes, diced
      (I had yellow cherry tomatoes but also canned tomatoes are often used in paella)
14 oz can of artichokes in brine, quartered and drained
half of a can of hearts of palm in brine, cut into rings
for garnish: olives (I used castelvetrano olives because they are bright, meaty and delicious)
     chopped cilantro or parsley, paprika, lemon wedges, olive oil for drizzling

Start by heating up the stock with the saffron. Then heat the olive oil in a large, wide, flat-bottom pan over medium to medium-high heat. Cool the mushrooms on both sides until nice and brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove them with a spoon and set aside. Place a little bit more olive oil in the pan if you removed a lot with the mushrooms. Cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the diced red bell pepper and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, artichokes and tomatoes. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Then add the rice and stir until the rice is covered in the oil and veggie mixture. Slowly pour in the broth until it is evenly distributed. From this point on, DO NOT STIR! Cook over med/med-low heat for 10 minutes. Then place the hearts of palm segments and mushrooms evenly over the top of the pan. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. You may need to adjust your heat so that it does not evaporate the broth too quickly. 
REMEMBER: Resist the urge to stir!
Serve topped with olives, herbs, paprika, lemon and olive oil. 
*Onion tips: Minimize tears by popping the onion the the freezer for 5 minutes before chopping. See captions for dicing tips. 
Dice an onion easily by slicing at an angles meeting in the center
Then turn your onion and slice in straight lines.