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Vegetable Paella with Chorizo + Prawns

Vegetable Paella with Chorizo + Prawns

Ingredients

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 large zucchini, sliced thin into 1” long pieces
  • 1 green + 1 yellow pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig of thyme, minced
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, minced
  • sea salt
  • 2 cups of arboro rice
  • 8 plum tomatoes, grated
  • 2 links of fresh chorizo, sliced (optional)
  • 4 cups of (homemade) vegetable broth or chicken broth or water
  • 3-4 generous pinches of saffron
  • a few lemon wedges for serving
  • optional for serving: some roasted red peppers (sliced thin), chives
    For the prawns:
  • 4-6 large prawns, with shells, tossed with olive oil, salt + pepper
  • equipment: a 15” round paella pan

The Prep

  • Start by making the sofrito (cooking the vegetables):
  • Heat the paella pan over an open flame and an even, flat surface. You want your flame to be not too large, but not too small. Also, make sure you have twigs nearby to feed the fire if it gets too small. You can also make this over a gas grill or stove, just make sure there is even heat distribution under the pan.
  • Add a generous amount of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Then, add the leeks and cook for about 2 minutes, until tender. Then, add the zucchini and peppers and cook for another 2 minutes, while stirring. Then add the mushroom. When all of the vegetables are soft, season them with a couple of pinches of salt, toss, and then push them to the outer edges of the pan creating a circle in the center. Add a little more olive oil in that circle and then add the garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for about 2 minutes. 
  • Add and the rice, toast it, and then add the broth:
  • Pour the rice into the center of the pan. Add another drizzle of olive oil over the rice, and then stir well to incorporate everything. Keep stirring for a a couple of minutes and then add the grated tomatoes and stir some more to incorporate the tomatoes.
  • Keep stirring continuously for about 5 minutes to continue to toast the rice and develop the flavors. Add a little more olive oil if it starts sticking to the pan.
  • Once the rice has a nice light brown color, then add in the chorizo (if you’re using) and toss to coat. Then add the broth and stir to be sure the vegetables and rice are evenly distributed.
  • At point you should leave the paella be and let the rice cook. After a few minutes, taste the broth (but be careful, it will be very hot!). Add more seasoning if need be. Also, if you’re cooking over an open flame, make sure the fire is not too hot. You do not want to burn the bottom, but rather you want to create a nice edible crust on the bottom and you do this by making sure it is hot enough to boil the water but not too hot to burn. You can move the rice around and check to make sure it is not burning underneath if you think your flame is too hot. If you are cooking this on a gas grill or stove, you would lower the temperature just slightly at this point, but the water should still be boiling / bubbling.
  • Cook the paella until all of the rice has absorbed the broth, and the edges are starting to get crisp and pulling from the side. Ideally you also want to have a slight crust at the bottom of the rice.
  • While the paella is finishing, cook the prawns:
  • If you only have one fire to do this, you will want to wait until your paella is cooked. Otherwise, if you have room, you can do it when your paella has about 5 more minutes to go.  In a separate, medium sized pan, add a little olive oil and then add the shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and set aside until you’re ready to serve.
  • Serve the paella and prawns:
  • Spoon the paella into individual bowls, and place a prawn on top. Finish wish a squeeze of lemon juice, and any of the additional toppings you like.
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