Sundried Tomato & Fennel Paella

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So at this point we just need to pretend that it’s still summer and get on with it. To help you do that try making this paella dish to give you all those summer feels again. Even though paella is a hearty, warm dish it always reminds me of summer and with the weather being pretty dismal at the moment its very fitting!

I love roasted fennel but if you are unsure about it then you have to give this recipe a go because you might be surprised, I’ve roasted it with lemon and chilli which gives it a really nice flavour and goes surprisingly well with this dish. No need for meat or fish; all the flavour comes from the spices, veggies, rice and those flavour bombs - sundried tomatoes.

Enjoy! x


Ingredients - 4-6 servings

Cooking Time - 1hr 20

1 tbsp olive oil

two white onions, chopped

2 peppers (preferably green and red)

5 garlic cloves, minced

small handful fennel seeds

small handful saffron threads

4 cups vegetable stock

1 and 1/4 cup paella rice

1 cup dry sherry or white wine

small bunch of parsley, washed and roughly chopped

1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 jar of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 fennel bulb, sliced lengthways and roasted

1 tsp chilli flakes

1/2 lemon zest

1 lemon juice

Method

1. Heat oven to 200C. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan along with the onions and peppers and cook until softened (about 8 minutes). While these cook, pour the vegetable stock into a jug, add the saffron and let it infuse for 5 minutes.

2. Roast fennel - thinly slice fennel lengthways and place on a roasting tray with a splash of olive oil, juice of 1/2 a lemon, zest of 1/2 a lemon, chilli flakes and season. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

3. Add garlic and fennel seeds to the pan, saute for another few minutes or until the onions begin to brown. Turn the heat up, add a bit more olive oil and then add the rice and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the sherry or wine and cook until the liquid starts to evaporate.

4. Add salt, pepper, parsley, and smoked paprika – stir and cook for a minute or two.  Pour in the stock, turn down the heat to medium again and let the rice cook in the stock (no stirring!) until there is just a tiny bit of liquid bubbling on top – about 10-15 minutes.

5. Add the artichokes and sundried tomatoes the rice and push them down (again, taking care not to stir the rice).  Cook for another 5-10 minutes, turn off the heat and cover the whole thing in order for the liquid to absorb (approx. 5 - 1o mins).

6. To serve - arrange fennel slices around the top of the rice, squeeze the juice from the rest of the lemon all over the paella and scatter with lots of parsley.