It's no secret that my husband is a picky eater. I cook a lot of dishes that he has no interest in eating. Luckily, I have the opportunity to cook dishes that I'm interested in eating during my lunch hour. I have also been trying to cook from my pantry and freezer so that I use things up before shopping for more. Yesterday I spied a bag of mixed seafood in the freezer. Usually I make bouillabaisse, but I didn't want to make that for lunch. I rummaged through the pantry and decided that I would try to make paella. Since I'm trying to cut back on eating meat, I wanted to make it a vegetable and seafood paella. I also wanted to use up a bunch of veggies I had in the not-so-crisper drawer. I know that I totally did things out of order, but hey, it worked. :) Some will say it isn't a true paella if it isn't made with chicken, or with sausage. Oh well. I will go with my version of paella today and enjoy it.
Vegetable and Mixed Seafood "Paella"
2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (4 really large baby bellas)
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 c white wine
1 orange bell pepper cut in thin strips (use what ever color you have on hand)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can artichoke heart quarters, drained
2 cups frozen mixed seafood (shrimp, calamari, mussels, scallops)
2 cups broth
1 small pinch saffron
1 t smoked paprika
1 T garlic powder
1/2 t salt
Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. When pan is hot, drizzle in the olive oil. After a minute the oil should shimmer. Add your diced onion and stir around. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes, then add in the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure the garlic doesn't burn. At this point, I should probably have added the rice, but I didn't, I added the mushrooms. Feel free to do it in reverse order. I added the mushrooms and then the rice. Stir the rice to make sure it gets a light coating of the olive oil, and cook for about 5 minutes. Next, I de-glazed the pan with the white wine, stirring to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the bell pepper, diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts and the seafood. Pour in the broth and the spices, mixing everything together so that the broth is distributed evenly.
Turn down the heat to low and cover. I set the timer for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, I stirred the mixture to make sure the seafood was cooking evenly, covered it up and set for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I removed the lid, stirred again, raised the heat to medium to cook off excess liquid for a few minutes. Before serving, check your seasoning and remove any mussels that didn't open.
I have a confession to make. For lunch, hot, it was delicious. For leftovers cold, it was even more delicious. When I was packaging the leftovers later I was eating more. Then I spied the muffaletta olive salad in my fridge. This is a mixture of marinated olive pieces, carrot, small bits of cauliflower that I get at the antipasto bar at Kroger. I've made "Spanish" dishes that had olives in it, why not this. So I spooned some in to my bowl with the cold paella. It was absolutely delicious. It added just the right briny kick to the dish. Perfect. My second confession. I just had cold paella for breakfast. I'm a happy girl.