This is a paella to die for! The aroma while it's cooking is incredible and the finished dish is a little peace of heaven. I wouldn't normally gush quite so much after eating something I cooked myself... as I'm as modest as I am brilliant... but I love this paella beyond words. It's moist, colourful and so tasty, and it will feed two very well indeed. Yum!
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small red, green and yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
½ fennel bulb, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp cayenne pepper
5½ oz (150 g) Calasparra rice
3½ fl oz (100 ml) good quality medium sherry
½ tsp saffron strands
16 fl oz (450 ml) boiling vegetable stock (from Marigold Swiss bouillon powder)
12 mini plum tomatoes, halved
5 small grilled jarred artichokes, quartered
7 oz (200 g) shelled broad beans
15 pitted black olives, halved
2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
salt and freshly milled black pepper
4 lemon wedges, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large, shallow frying pan. Add the onion and cook on a low heat for five minutes.
Add the peppers and fennel to the onion and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the bay leaves, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir in (see photo above).
Next, add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the sherry and saffron and boil for a minute. Then add the vegetable stock, black pepper and a little pinch of salt (see photo above). Turn the gas down to its lowest heat and leave everything to simmer away, without stirring, for around 20 minutes, by which time most of the liquid should have been absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, place the broad beans in a bowl and pour over a good amount of boiling water. Allow them to sit for a minute, drain them, then gently squeeze them out of their skins.
Toss the tomatoes, artichokes and skinned beans into the paella, cover the frying pan with foil and leave it to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the foil, scatter the olives on top, add the parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over the paella.