Thursday, April 19, 2012

Poor Man's Paella

Hello Foodies!  Ready for a recipe with some foreign appeal?  How does Paella sound?  Expensive???  True, but for those aching from the economy, I have prepared a simpler recipe with ingredients you're likely to have floating around.  I present to you:  Poor Man's Paella!

Paella (pronounced Pie - A - ya) is a traditional Spanish dish consisting of rice, vegetables, and mariscos (Spanish for seafood).  The rice is seasoned with saffron, a rare and pricy spice that turns the rice a bright yellow color.  While the dish is usually made with a mix of shrimp, clams, mussles, and fish (or sometimes chicken), those ingredients are also expensive and hard to prepare.  This recipe gets to the basics of the original meal...

Ok, so you probably don't have saffron just lying around.  But you can pick some up at the local supermarket. Skip the spices and go straight to the cultural foods aisle.  Goya, for example, sells serving-size packets of saffron just for this type of recipe.  Pick up a box and enjoy!

For the recipe, you will need:

1 cup rice (uncooked)
1 cup diced green pepper
1 can tuna
1 can peas or mixed vegetables
1 can diced tomatoes (or 1 large diced fresh tomato)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups chicken broth (or prepared bullion)
2-3 teaspoons of saffron (2-3 Goya packets)
garlic powder

You will also need two medium or large cooking pots.

Begin by preparing the rice in one pot.  Dice the pepper and onion and put it in pot 2.  Add the broth, tomatoes and peas to pot 2, along with a few shakes of garlic and pepper (as to your personal preference). Heat to a boil on the stove.  When the rice is about halfway done, add the can of tuna to pot 2 and mix everything together.  Leave to simmer until the rice is done.

When the rice is finished, add the saffron.  Make sure you mix it in nice and evenly.  Every part of the rice should be bright yellow.

Dish out a generous helping of rice onto a plate or bowl.  Next, cover the rice with the melange from pot 2.  If you'd like, garnish with a lemon peel.  I didn't have lemons, so I used an orange peel instead.  Not quite the same thing  :)

And there you go.  The whole process takes about 20 minutes - not much longer than it takes to boil a cup of rice.  I recommend trying the real Paella at a Spanish restaurant if you get the opportunity.  But for those on a budget or on the go, this is a perfect substitute for the real thing.  Oh yeah, and it's healthy too. But I won't tell if you don't!





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