Spanish Rice & Pepper Fiesta

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Spanish Rice & Pepper Fiesta

When is a paella not a paella? When it’s a rice and pepper party! This organic vegloaded one pot is inspired by the classic Spanish rice dish and mixes onion, fennel and pepper with smoked paprika and cayenne to make a ricely spicy dinner.

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  • 2 onions
  • 1 fennel
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 chillies
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 500g risotto rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon

The combination of chillies and smoked paprika gives this rice dish a warming dash of spice. If you want it to be hotter, leave the seeds and white pith in the chillies. If you would like a milder flavour, use just 1 chilli, or none and simply sprinkle in the smoked paprika.

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1. Peel and finely chop the onions. Trim the dry ends off the fennel and pluck off any soft fronds for later. Halve the fennel bulb and slice into long, thin lengths, then chop those into small dice to match the onions.
2. Put a large pan or casserole dish on a medium heat and warm for 2 mins. Add 2 tbsp oil with the veg and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Gently cook, stirring every so often, for 8 mins till the veg are soft but haven’t picked up too much colour. If they start to brown, turn the heat down and add a splash of water.
3. While the veg cook, halve the pepper. Scoop out the seeds and white pith and chop the pepper to match the onion and fennel. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Add the pepper and tomatoes to the pan with a pinch more salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 mins to soften them.
4. While the veg cook, peel and crush or grate the garlic. Halve the chillies. Scoop out the seeds and white pith, then finely chop the chillies. Finely chop the parsley stalks (keep the leaves for later). Crumble the stock cube into a heatproof jug and stir in 1½ltr boiling water to dissolve it.
5. Stir the garlic, chillies and parsley stalks into the veg. Add 2 tsp smoked paprika and 1 tsp turmeric. Give everything in the pan a really good stir to mix it all together.
6. Add the risotto rice. Stir to mix well. Drop in the bay leaf. Pour in the stock.
7. Clamp a lid on the pan (or use a baking tray if you don’t have a lid). Turn the heat up and bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down. Simmer very gently for 20-25 mins, stirring occasionally, till the rice is tender and the dish is thick, but not too dry.
8. While the rice cooks, finely grate the zest from the lemon. Roughly chop the parsley leaves.
9. Stir the lemon zest into the rice and squeeze in the lemon juice. Taste the rice and add a pinch more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Spoon the rice into warm bowls and garnish with the chopped parsley to serve.
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A simple and delicious recipe-improved for meat eaters by the addition of some of your fabulous cooking chorizo! An absolutely impossible recipe to find again however as the search words are not intuitive- paella was the last thing we thought of and it took hours to find it a second time around