Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Getting lunch in Whole Foods today, I was roaming around somewhat aimlessly hoping to find inspiration for dinner. I remembered that I had the Whole Foods app on my phone, and I had actually saved some recipes I wanted to try. Looking at my list, I settled on this Stovetop Vegetarian Paella, because it sounded good and not too complicated for a Wednesday night. The only pricey item in this recipe is the $8 I spent on Spanish saffron, which I confess I never bought before and I was kind of excited to try.
A couple of notes about this recipe: it sounded good, but a little bland. I added a 4 oz. package of "Gourmet Blend" mushrooms (baby bellas, oyster, and shitake) as well as two Field Roast Chipotle sausage links, cut into inch-thick slices. (Ok, so the chipotle sausages are Mexican and paella is a Spanish dish, but I didn't have any chorizo sausages and aren't these pretty much the same thing? Don't go getting all picky on me.) I browned the mushrooms in a saute pan (using the method recommended here) then placed them in a bowl to the side. I browned the sausage pieces in the same pan with a little olive oil and put those aside as well. I then followed the recipe as instructed, but needed much more time to cook the rice. This may be because I was using brown basmati rice which generally takes longer to cook than white. At any rate, I cooked the rice for approximately 30 minutes, as opposed to 10 minutes as directed. After adding the peas and cooking for about a minute, so that the peas are warmed through but still firm and bright, I stirred in the mushrooms and sausage. Served with lemon wedges to squeeze over the rice, it was fragrant, flavorful, earthy and just slightly spicy. I think it would have been hopelessly bland without the mushrooms and sausage, together they really added a touch of heat and the extra savoriness that was missing. Is it an authentic paella? To be honest, I don't know that I've ever had one! But for a one pot meal, it was a pretty good thing.