Vegetarian Paella with Red Peppers and Chickpeas
- 1 cup short-grain brown rice (See Recipe Note)
- Hefty pinch saffron (about 8 strands)
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes, fresh or canned
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 tablespoon hot paprika
- 1 cup green beans, trimmed and halved
- 3 artichoke hearts, sliced (fresh, frozen, or canned)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Salt and pepper
Bring 3 cups of water and a hefty pinch of salt to a boil, add the rice, and cook for about about 20 minutes, or until the rice begins to soften. Drain and set aside. (Par-boiling the brown rice speeds up the overall cooking time.)
Combine saffron threads and 3 tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl and set aside. Bring the broth to a simmer, then reduce the heat and keep at a low simmer until needed.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet, and sauté the onions until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic slices and peppers. Cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Mix in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, hot paprika, saffron threads (along with the water), and season generously with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Let it cook for a few minutes.
Make sure to have your vegetable broth simmering nearby. Fold in the green beans, artichoke slices, and chickpeas. Then stir in the par-boiled, drained rice. Ladle the simmering broth over the rice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has evaporated. A few minutes before the rice is fully cooked, scatter the peas over top. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.