Summer Vegetable Paella with Saffron & Lemon
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This meat and fish free adaptation of the traditional Spanish dish serves 2, paella rice is readily available however you can use short-grain brown or Arborio if you can’t find it. Saffron threads give the dish its unique flavour.

sunflower or light olive oil, for frying

1 onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, grated or crushed

1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 5mm-thick slices

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into 5mm-thick slices

200g paella rice – calasparra paella rice if you can get it

100g mushrooms, finely sliced

3 tomatoes, diced

¼ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp paprika

2 pinches of saffron threads

1 litre of good veg stock

100g green beans or sugar snaps, or a mixture of both (if using beans, top, tail and chop into thirds)

good handful of parsley, chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges

salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed paella pan or large frying pan or flameproof casserole. Add the onion and fry gently on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the garlic and peppers to the onion and stir for 2 minutes. Add the rice, mushrooms, tomatoes, both types of paprika and saffron. Pour in three quarters of the stock and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the liquid and top up with a little more stock or water as needed (you might not need it all). The paella shouldn’t be sloppy at the end so add liquid sparingly during the last 10 minutes. While the paella is cooking, boil the green beans for 3 minutes, then refresh them in a bowl of very cold water.

If you are using sugar snaps, you can simply throw them in raw towards the end of cooking (see below). After 30 minutes of cooking, check the rice is tender and cook a little longer if needed. If there is any excess liquid, turn up the heat and stir to boil it off. Then cook very gently without stirring, to create a crust on the bottom (it’s not very easy to achieve without a proper paella pan, though). Stir in the beans and parsley. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 2 minutes, then check the seasoning and serve with wedges of lemon.

Variation

You can use any sort of green beans in this; try double-podded broad, sliced runners or flat green beans.

With many thanks to www.riverford.co.uk/recipes for this fantastic recipe! 

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