Spring Vegetable Paella

Chef: Dean Schmideg

Course: Side

Servings: 4-5

While many Spanish Paella recipes use meat and seafood I have taken some of the best produce this season has to offer to create a bright and colourful vegetarian version, perfect for those who are gluten free. The best part of this dish is the ability to change up the ingredients depending on your preference. Swap out the green beans for asparagus and the squash for broccolini, marinated or canned artichoke hearts are also great and suit this Valencian style Paella Rice. For meat lovers fry up chorizo with chicken thigh pieces or grill some prawns sprinkled with smoked paprika, set aside and pop into the rice a few minutes before it’s ready.

1 x 325g packet From Basque With Love Paella Rice
1 x 500ml Maggie Beer Vegetable Stock mixed with 500ml boiling water
5 tbsp canned Capriccio diced tomato
1 leek, halved and finely sliced
1 long orange or red bullhorn capsicum, diced
200g green beans, topped and cut into thirds
150g peas, shelled
4 yellow squash, halved and cut into wedges
200g Flavorite sugar plum tomatoes
1 long red chilli finely sliced
1/2 large lemon cut into wedges
4 tbsp chives, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Smoked paprika, salt & pepper (optional)

Firstly take the chunks of squash, sprinkle with a little olive oil, smoked paprika, freshly ground pepper and salt and toss to combine.

Take a large (36cm) paella pan or equivalent sized saute pan and fry the squash on high heat until browned but not cooked through. Remove from pan and repeat this process with the chopped green beans cooking for only a minute or two until bright green. Remove and set aside with the squash.

Heat the 3 tbsp of olive oil and gently fry the leek, capsicum and half the chilli until softened. Turn up the heat, add the Paella rice and toast for about one minute before adding  the diced tomato, stock and water. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat just a little to medium scatter over the fresh peas and arrange the whole sugar plum tomatoes evenly around the pan. Cook for 20minutes or until all the liquid is completely absorbed the rice is al dente. Most importantly don’t touch the rice while it is cooking as you want it to develop a golden crust on the bottom known as the ‘socarrat’.

Add the squash and green beans back into the pan 15mins into the cooking time to heat through and once ready garnish with the remaining chilli and chives, arrange the wedges of lemon in the centre of the pan and serve immediately.

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