Something else to tempt you to hunt down smoked paprika: a super easy comfort dish of soft cannellini beans and rice, all infused with smoked and regular paprika, tomato, bay leaf and a little drizzle of lemon juice. Add onions, cauliflower and a smidgen of chopped parsley to finish, and you have a complete meal on the table in less than half an hour. If you have some, throw a little preserved lemon in. If you, like me, love garlic, throw even more of that in. If you have different veges, use them (halved button mushrooms and/or roasted red or green peppers, added near the end of cooking, would be top of my list next time). If you don’t like beans, use some chorizo sausage, fish, chicken, prawns or chickpeas instead. If you don’t like rice, use diced potato (the sizing will be important here though, and you won’t need as much water).
What is most important here is the combination of smoked and regular paprika. If you just use regular paprika, this dish will be much more average, especially if you’re not using meat in your dish. Luckily for vegans though, you definitely do not need meat with the smoked paprika. It’s quite life changing to love beans and rice so much. I’ve made vegetarian paella before (prior to the switch to using wordpress), but I would disregard that recipe altogether. Spanish smoked paprika has stolen my heart.
Spanish-ish rice (my lazy take on a paella)
Serves 2 for dinner
- 1 onion, medium dice
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- about 2c cauliflower florets, large-ish
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can cooked white beans (I used cannellini), chickpeas, or some chopped raw chicken, raw prawns (large unshelled – small ones will overcook), raw beef, or cooked chorizo
- about 1/2c tomato puree or passata
- quarter of a preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 3/4c white long grain rice (I used jasmine, but plain is fine)
- 1 1/4c freshly boiled water
- salt and pepper, to taste
- chopped parsley, to serve
- juice of half a lemon (or 1 lemon to taste) with wedges to serve
Heat about 3 Tbs cooking oil in a heavy-bottomed medium large deep frying pan, and cook onions over medium heat on an even layer, stirring occasionally until soft. Stir in paprika, cauliflower, garlic, beans (or whatever protein you’re using) and bay leaf, and cook until the bottom of the beans start catching/sticking on the bottom of the pan, about a minute. If using meat, sear at least one side. Stir in tomato puree, preserved lemon and smoked paprika, and scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan, utilising the moisture in the tomato puree. Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking. If you like your cauliflower with some bite, remove the florets now after turning heat down to low, and set aside to add in after the rice is cooked. Reduce heat to lowest setting, add rice and water, and stir until the rice and water stops bubbling as vigorously, then cover. Let sit for 20 minutes, then turn off heat. Stir vegetables in and recover for another 5 minutes if you removed them earlier. Squeeze over lemon juice and stir through. Dish up, scatter with chopped parsley, and serve with a wedge of lemon.
Note: If you get burnt rice stuck to the bottom, don’t panic. Just scrape out the unburnt stuff, soak the burnt shell while you’re eating dinner, and discard later.