Saturday, July 6, 2013

Vegetarian Paella on the Grill

We have been all about family-style meals lately. We understand that they are, in a way, challenging, in that they're a little different from the norm. You sit down to a meal and there is one big plate of food for each dish. You patiently wait for your turn, and you closely eyeball your tablemates as they scoop a portion onto their plates. It involves a different way of thinking, it's truly sharing a meal, and we love it. The whole idea echoes the sentiment of community, fosters new conversations...and encourages clean plates.

We are so lucky to have so many opportunities to share meals with friends and family this week. In the past 24 hours, we have had a meal of grilled fig salad, truffled corn and shiitake mushrooms with ricotta dumplings, and this summer's omnipresent homemade ice cream sandwiches with people we have known since before we had driver's licenses, shared a giant paella with some of our most trusted friends, and we've squirted pickle relish and yellow mustard on a few veggie dogs and enjoyed some really delicious elote salad at some of our oldest friends' new house in North Mississippi. It's days like this that let us know just how truly blessed we are.

In the flurry of cooking, eating, and celebrating, there was no time to write down a recipe, but we'd like to share the process of making a paella. It's an inexact science that changes with the mood and shifts with the winds. Like a great meal, the cooking of a paella is best when it's shared. So when Michael and Kelly came over for 4th of July lunch, we decided that we would all bring something to throw into the pan. We called it paella by committee.

Michael and Kelly brought risotto rice, green olives, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, spanish paprika, saffron, kale, green onions, and the large paella pan that was a gift from us for his birthday. Luckily, he also brought the knowledge of how to make a proper paella. We supplied the roasted red peppers, yellow peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste, white wine, vegetable broth, olive oil, sherry vinegar, fresh herbs from the garden, tomatoes, eggs, and shallots.

First you need to make a sofrito by blending together a tomato, parsley, yellow pepper. paprika, onion, tomato paste, sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic in the food processor until liquidly. Warm the saffron in a quart of stock and a 1/2 cup of wine. Place the paella pan over medium-high heat on your outdoor grill and add a 1/4 cup of olive oil and 4 to 5 good handfuls of rice. Toast until rice is golden brown. Add a few good handfuls of chopped kale and then the sofrito. Cook over medium-high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated, add a cup of stock, and continue to cook. The rice will need 4 to 5 additions of stock before it softens. Make indentions in the rice, crack the raw eggs in, and cook until eggs have set. Top with grilled or sautéed green onions, green olives, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, and roasted red peppers. Finish with chopped tomato, fresh herbs, shallots, and a sprinkling of sherry vinegar.

The truth is that there is no really wrong way to make paella. It's the kind of thing that should be made out of what is on hand and shared with those you love.


The Yogi Vegetarian said...

Never tried making paella before, but it looks like the perfect way to use all those Summer veggies Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Didn't know how to alert you except through this.

On Bing the second ChubbyVegetarian Facebook directs you to


I inadvertently clicked on it. It has your site information but has I believe Russian words in small type below.

Don't know if there is anything you can do, but wanted you to know.


Anonymous said...

Look yummy...paella is one of my favorite food!

qooza said...

That pan is lovely - can you tell me what it is? I want to track one down!

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

We found our at TJ Max. Here is the same one at Amazon: