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Paella Vegetariana

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leeks or coarsely chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon instant stock powder (vegetable bouillon is fine)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/4 cups extra-long-grain white rice
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups sliced defrosted artichoke hearts
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup diced roasted red bell pepper, store-bought (diced fresh red pepper also works)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot. Saute the leeks or onions, plus the garlic, over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in the water, stock powder or bouillon, saffron and salt, rubbing the saffron between your fingers to release its flavor as you add it. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and carrots. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 18 minutes.

Sprinkle the peas, corn, kidney beans and red pepper on top of the rice. Cover and remove from the heat. Let sit until the rice is tender and the vegetables are thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes. Add pepper to taste and additional salt if needed. (It will probably need it.) Stir well. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the almonds, if you're using them. Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from "Lorna Sass' Short-Cut Vegetarian"

Thursday, February 14, 2002

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