Whether you call it paella or not, we all agree that Spanish rice dishes can be exceptionally good. A bit different than the classic paella you might have in mind (which is not actually such a classic here in Spain, where traditional means rabbit and snails), one of my favorite Spanish rice recipes comes from Murcia, where the giant paella pans are set atop burning grape vines and used to make some of the most delicious family meals imaginable. Arroz de Verduras a la Murciana is a rice dish that makes use of all the fresh and delicious vegetables that are grown in Murcia. Colorful, healthy and mouthwatering, making this vegetable paella is a dish well worth the trouble!
- 2 Cups of Murcian rice (Calasparra or Bomba)
- ¾ pound of lean pork
- 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips
- 2 cups of green beans, cut into 1 inch strips
- 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 inch strips
- 4 artichoke hearts, cut in four
- 2 cloves of garlic
- A few threads of saffron
- 1 T of chopped parsley
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cups vegetable stock or pork stock
- Salt (if necessary-- the stock may already have salt)
- Cut the pork into bite size pieces and sear it in the hot olive oil.
- Remove with a slotted spoon (keeping the oil in the pan) and let rest.
- In the same oil, fry the cloves of whole garlic until tender.
- Remove the cloves of garlic and mash in a mortar and pestle with the parsley and saffron too.
- Add the vegetables to the pan and sautee in the hot olive oil for two minutes.
- Add the garlic paste and the pork (with any juices that came out) back to the pan.
- Add one cup of stock and let everything simmer at a low heat for 20 minutes.
- Add the two cup of rice and four cups of stock to the pan.
- Give everything a stir and bring the mixture to a boil.
- As soon as the liquid starts to boil, lower the heat to low and let it cook for 15-20 minutes
- When the rice is al dente and the liquid is absorbed, you're ready to eat!
This vegetable paella recipe is one of the simplest I’ve encountered, and it is truly delicious. While you could make it in another type of pan, I must say the paella pan does wonders (as does a gas stove). If you are a vegetarian you can easily make this dish without the pork– and I’ll bet that mushrooms would make a great, meaty substitution.
What other Spanish rice dishes would you like the recipe for?
Click here for a guide to the best paella in Madrid!
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