My boyfriend works in the Basque Country in Spain, and I knew he was something special when, the first day we met, he admitted to spending most of the day ironing napkins after throwing a paella party the night before.
“A paella party?” I inquired. Impressed, I listened fervently as he shared all of the measures he took to create an authentic skillet full of homemade paella. From shipping in Bomba rice to simmering sofrito (the aromatic sauce) for hours on the stovetop, to timing it all just right in order to serve up a perfect skillet of Spanish paella.
I nodded, smiled, and secretly made plans to become his friend forever. Because any man who makes his own paella is a man worth keeping.
Fast forward to last week, when I was craving a pot of homemade rice and veggies. Something warm and comforting, made with all the best winter ingredients. He suggested it sounded as if I was begging for a paella, so we decided to go in together and whip up some magic.
My only request? We had to do it shortcut style. I couldn’t want for the hours it would take to recreate a perfect pot of the stuff. So, we had to find a way to hack it.
The results, dear reader, were splendid. Here’s how we did it:
Our ingredient line-up was pretty basic. We started with fire roasted tomatoes (to cut down on the simmering sauce needs). We also decided to skip the Bomba rice, using pre-cooked brown rice, instead. Though the BF said he still prefers Bomba, he did say brown rice was an “acceptable alternative”. There you have it.
Start by blending together the sauce. Roasted red peppers, fire roasted tomatoes, garlic and a kiss of saffron. Poured into a pot of precooked rice.
Simmer until the rice soaks up the flavorful sauce. Try not to spoon it all into your mouth instantly. It’s so good!
We decided to prep the veggies in a second skillet.
Doing so helped us time the readiness of the rice with perfectly cooked veggies—no worries about burning the rice or undercooking the mix-ins this way.
Once sautéed, I transferred most of the veggies into the rice, leaving just a few behind to help warm and flavor a cup of frozen peas.
Once ready, this final mix was tossed into the top of our rice. And our paella was complete.
Except that, Mr. Authentico said it really does need a sprinkle of parsley. And so, we sprinkled.
And then, we grabbed spoons and dove right in. Winter cravings were cured, comfort food comforted. This pot of homemade Winter Paella was exactly what I was looking for. Looks like Mr. Right was right.
Brooke blogs at Cheeky Kitchen, where she shares crazy simple, healthy family recipes. She joined Tablespoon to share some of her best, so keep an eye on Brooke's profile to see what she cooks up next!