April seems to be "Grilled Paella Month" around here, with me making my third Saturday paella in a row. This paella was also accompanied by another gazpacho, this time Gazpacho Oriental which added a few different ingredients to a traditional gazpacho. Both came from the Paella, Paella cookbook. What is nice about the gazpacho, is that you make it the day before, refrigerate it and pull it out just before you're ready to serve your meal. This let me concentrate on the paella and made for a less complicated cook. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the prep story. But before I do I will jump ahead to the end results.
I am probably the biggest carnivore of the lot and I loved this Vegetarian Paella. It had great flavor, and wide variety of flavors. It also had the best soccorat of any paella I've made. It was extra crunchy on the bottom and I think this was because I cranked the heat up on the grill little bit. The day was very cold and windy, with temperatures barely getting out of the 40s. So I had dialed up the heat a little bit to compensate. After three paellas in a row, I thought this run was over. To my great surprise as we were starting in on dessert, I was asked what paella I would be making next week. I asked if people weren't getting sick of the paella and they said absolutely not. Each one is a different from the one before and they also make great leftovers. So it looks like my paella run will continue. Onto the pictures:
On Friday I started the gazpacho Oriental. The ingredients consisted of: medium tomatoes, green bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, vegetable broth, Tabasco sauce, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and olive oil.
The tomatoes were cored quartered, and seeded and the cucumber and zucchini were sliced so that they would fit into the food processor. The veggies were processed in two batches together with half the liquids.
In this picture the first batch of veggies is in the soup tureen, and the second batch has just been processed in the food processor.
Here is a close-up of the second batch of gazpacho in the food processor. Yes it's as tasty as it looks. the gazpacho gets refrigerated overnight and is served cold the next day together with some garnish.
It is now Saturday and I've gathered the ingredients for the paella. The ingredients consist of: green, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, medium tomatoes, onion, garlic, scallions, frozen peas, lemon juice, quartered artichoke hearts, vegetable broth, Bomba rice and olive oil.
Everything is out at the grill and the grill has been preheated to medium heat plus an extra notch on the temperature knobs. This was due to the extremely cold temperatures for this time year, and the high winds. The tomatoes and onions have been diced, and the bell pepper was cut into strips.
The vegetable broth is gently warming on the side burner. With the high winds, I was keeping a close eye on things to make sure the flame didn't blow out.
Step one is to heat olive oil in the paella pan until it is shimmering.
Then the onion and garlic were added and sautÃ©ed.
The next step was to add the rice. This was an interesting switch from the normal sequence where I would've expected to be sautÃ©ing the bell peppers next. But instead the bomba rice went on just after the onion and garlic and was cooked for about five minutes.
The rice was cooked for five minutes, and then the bell peppers and diced tomatoes went on.
Here is a close-up showing the great color this paella took on after the bell peppers and tomatoes were added and were thoroughly mixed together.
The heated vegetable broth has been added and the ingredients of been thoroughly mixed and distributed throughout the paella pan. Now the lid goes down for 20 minutes and the paella cooks until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.
While the paella is cooking for 20 minutes, I returned to the kitchen to work on the artichoke hearts. The quartered artichoke hearts are drizzled with lemon juice just before going onto the paella.
It has been 20 minutes and the paella is just about done. The smell out in the backyard was truly amazing!
The next up was to add some thawed frozen peas and the artichoke hearts onto the paella, Which is cooked for an additional five minutes.
Here is a close-up of the newly added peas and artichoke hearts.
After five minutes of additional cooking the paella is done. I could tell by the black stains around the perimeter of the paella pan that it was going to have a good soccorat (crusty rice at the bottom).
Time to eat! The paella is served right in its pan, which is brought straight from the grill to the table and placed in the grass mat holder. The gazpacho came out of the refrigerator and went straight to the table with some lo mein noodles and finely chopped scallions serving as a garnish.
The gazpacho was very tasty and had a little more cucumber/zucchini flavor than the gazpacho we had last week. Until recently the concept of cold soup was alien to me and I really couldn't imagine it tasting as good as it does.
Here's a close-up of the paella. You can see the burn marks on the perimeter of the paella pan which were a sign I was in for a treat in terms of achieving a good soccorat
This paella was very tasty despite having no meat in it. One sign of success was that people were asking what paella I was going to make we're next week. So it looks like I'll be having paella once again.