Every so often, you need to get fancy. As in: fancy = your highest heels + your reddest lipstick + the expensive bottle of wine you’ve been saving.
Or, when you’re gestating a human, and you want to put on your best lined slippers and your size-up yoga pants…the good news is you can still cook with really fancy ingredients, to make up for the wine you’re missing. I’m talking those things you bought when you went to the specialty kitchen store or spice bazaar and your husband was like, seriously? Do we even have room in the cabinets? When are we going to use these things? And you give him a look that says: this is already done. You know what I’m talking about.
Saffron, fennel seeds, calasparra rice, all in one dish. You can even wear red lipstick.
Artichoke + Fennel Seed Paella
- olive oil
- two white or yellow onions, chopped
- 2 bell peppers (I used an orange and a green)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- small handful fennel seeds
- small handful saffron threads
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 and 1/4 cup calasparra rice (super hard to find – you can substitute another short grain rice like bomba or calrose)
- 1 cup dry sherry or white wine
- bunch parsley, washed and roughly chopped
- small handful smoked paprika
- 1 jar or can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- other vegetables as you please: grape tomatoes, scallions, spinach, etc.
- 1 lemon
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil and then onions + peppers and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. While these cook, pour the veggie stock into a bowl with the saffron and allow that tasty goodness to infuse the broth.
- Add garlic and fennel seeds to the pan, saute for another few minutes, or until onions begin to brown. Turn the heat up and then add a bit more olive oil, add the rice and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the sherry or wine and cook until the liquid mostly evaporates.
- Add salt, pepper, parsley, and smoked paprika – stir and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the stock, turn down the heat to medium again and leave your paella alone. No really. No stirring. Let the rice cook in that beautiful stock until there is just a tiny bit of liquid bubbling on top – about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the artichokes and/or other vegetables into the top of the rice and push them down (again, taking care not to stir the rice). Cook another 5-10 minutes, then turn off the heat and cover the whole thing, in order to let all the liquid absorb.
- Just before serving, squeeze the juice from the lemon all over the paella and scatter with parsley.
This paella gets even better on days 2 + 3 (which is a good news because this is a LOT for two people, even one person who counts as 1.5). Depending on your level of love for artichokes (mine is quite high) I might even suggest doubling up on those. Get really fancy.