It seems like ages since I’ve shared recipes with the Shomrei community. Travel, Passover, Kiddush prep got in the way. Finally here are some new ones to try. By plan or coincidence they are all vegan friendly.
But first I must rhapsodize about the delicious paella I sampled in Barcelona. There are probably as many versions of paella as there are cooks. However, traditionally, paella is a mixture of seafood, poultry, perhaps sausage, and seasoned with saffron and other herbs and spices. It’s served over rice which often has green peas mixed in. Not the dish for kosher or seafood avoidant diners.
But I had the most delicious asparagus and mushroom paella at a friendly restaurant on the beach. It was as good as any could have been, well-seasoned, easy on the eyes and the tongue. What follows is an approximation of what I was served on that rainy evening by the sea.
1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
Kosher or sea salt
4 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of smoked sweet paprika (pimenton)
6 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
8 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb thin asparagus spears, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 medium onions, quartered
4 artichoke hearts (canned or frozen), quartered
3/4 cup dry red or white wine
1-1/2 lb mushrooms (a mix of white, cremini, cepes, etc.), brushed clean, stems trimmed, very coarsely chopped (or, if small, left whole)
1 cup canned chopped tomato
3 cups bomba, Valencia or Arborio rice
12 strips piquillo or roasted red pepper, for garnish
- In a mortar or mini processor, mash to a paste the saffron, 1/4 tsp salt, parsley, garlic and smoked paprika. Heat the broth in a large pot over the lowest heat.
- Preheat oven to 400F for gas oven, 450F for electric.
- Heat oil in a 17-18 inch paella pan, or in a shallow casserole of similar size, over 2 burners if necessary.
- Sauté the asparagus and onions over medium heat until softened, then add artichoke hearts and mushrooms, and cook 1-2 minutes more.
- Add the mushrooms and tomato, and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine, and boil away most of the liquid, then stir in the rice and coat well with the pan mixture.
- Pour in the hot broth and bring to a boil. Add the mashed saffron-parsley-garlic paste, taste for salt (it will likely need a bit), and continue to boil, stirring and rotating the pan occasionally, until the rice is no longer soupy and sufficient liquid remains to continue cooking the rice, about 5 minutes.
- Arrange red pepper strips like the spokes of a wheel, on top of the rice.
- Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the rice is almost al dente, 10 minutes in a gas oven, 15 minutes in electric.
- Remove to a warm spot, cover with foil, and let sit 5-10 minutes, until the rice is cooked to taste.
NOTE: Do not substitute regular paprika for smoked. Chicken could be added but the paella will no longer be vegan.
The calendar definitely says spring but the last few days have been cold and damp. A hearty soup made a satisfying dinner to chase away the chills. It’s vegan with a wonderful texture from the beans, but it can easily be supplemented with chunks of chicken or sausage.
1 ½ T extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 ½ c. vegetable broth ( I use Trader Joe’s)
1 ½ c. dried Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
1 small bunch kale, tough stems removed and leaves cut into strips (about 6 cups)
2 bay leaves
1 leek, white and light green parts, split lengthwise and rinsed
1 cup canola oil
2 tsp. any kind of paprika
1 large tomato, diced (about 1 cup)
1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- Turn an Instant Pot to high sauté.
- When hot, add olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté about 5 minutes, until just soft.
- Turn off sauté. Add broth, beans, kale and bay leaves. Put lid on pot, close, set to high pressure. Set timer to 30 minutes.
- Cut leek crosswise into thin strips, about 3 inches long, and pat dry.
- Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When very hot, add half the leeks a bit at a time and cook, turning with a slotted spoon, until browned and very crisp, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with rest of leeks.
- Reserve 2 T of oil and allow to cook; discard remaining oil.
- Stir paprika into reserved oil and set aside.
- Allow pressure to release naturally from Instant Pot. When released, remove lid. Discard bay leaves.
- Use a potato mashed or large fork to mash some of the beans. Stir in tomato and salt to taste.
- Ladle into bowls, drizzle with paprika oil and top with frizzled oil.
NOTE: The leeks and oil can be omitted. Top with some canned fried onions or croutons for crunch.
The last recipe is by request. A Beryl Hiller special, it was served at a recent Kiddush and is a nice dish.
Anything that can be made ahead gets my vote.
2 pints, cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 T. Extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh thyme leaves, divided
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 lb. Small cremini mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Freshly ground pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar
- Heat oven to 375
- Place halved tomatoes, 1 T olive oil, 1T thyme, ¼ tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl and toss.
- Transfer one half to a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the tomatoes cut-side down.
- Place mushrooms, garlic, remaining olive oil, thyme and salt, and a few grinds of pepper in the same bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to the other half of the baking sheet and spread out in a single layer.
- Roast until the vegetables are soft and carmelized, 30-35 minutes.
- Removes from oven and mash tomatoes gently with a fork to release some of the juices.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and toss to combine and evenly coat.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
NOTE: Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Reheat at 275 for about 15 minutes. Leftovers can be stored airtight for up to 5 days.