1 quart vegetable stock or garlic broth
Generous pinch (about 1/2 teaspoon) saffron threads
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper, cut into strips
2 cups medium-grain rice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 pound ripe tomatoes ( seeded and grated on the large holes of a box grater; or peeled, seeded and chopped;) or 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
1/4 pound green beans, ( 1-inch lengths)
2 or 3 baby artichokes, trimmed and sliced (may also use frozen artichoke hearts, sliced or jar bought artichokes)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For The Saffron:
Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Crush the saffron threads between your fingertips, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon warm water, and set aside.
For the Sofrito:
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy frying pan, an earthenware casserole (cazuela) set over a flame tamer, or a paella pan. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the peppers begin to soften, about three minutes.
Add the tomato paste, paprika and rice. Cook, stirring, for one minute until the grains begin to crackle. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they cook down slightly and smell fragrant, about five minutes. Stir in the saffron with its soaking water, scraping in every last bit with a rubber spatula. Season generously with salt and pepper.
For the Vegetables:
Add the stock, green beans, artichokes and chickpeas or lima beans. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer without stirring until the liquid has just about evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the peas. Continue to simmer until the rice is dry, another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.
For the Socarrat:
Traditional Paella has a crispy, caramelized, toasted bottom called socarrat that is considered a delicacy. To achieve a socarrat, one either needs to time the evaporation of the water properly with the completion of the rice being cooked or turn up the heat to high (for 5 to 10 minutes) and listen to the bottom of the rice toast. Once you smell the aroma of toasted rice, remove the pan before it burns. The paella should cool for several minutes.
Garnish with Smoked Red Peppers cut in julienne strips. You can roast the peppers in the oven at 400 Degrees for ten minutes or carmelize them in a pan ( using a pinch of sugar) on a very high flame. Neatly place them all over the Paella like a wheel. Add nice lemon slices all over the Paella and some parsley, voila, your Paella is Ready!
Tip From Sabrina's Kitchen:
- Be sure to crush the saffron threads to release the flavor before adding. Also keep in mind that saffron releases it's flavor with heat, so be sure to add it while the paella is cooking.
- When adding broth to the Rice Mixture (add 6 cups if using Bomba Rice, otherwise add 4 cups.)
- Paella tastes best with Bomba rice, Arborio rice or short grained rice.
This does not have to be piping hot, so it can be made an hour before you wish to serve. If you make it further ahead than that, you can reheat it in the pan.
You don’t have to make this vegetable-rich dish in a paella pan, though if you do, you’ll get a nice layer of crusty rice on the bottom. Serve it as a main dish or as a side.