Make in a large cast iron, stainless steel or ceramic skillet, I used my Tagine. Serve with marinated artichokes.
4-6 strands saffron threads ($$ – so just look to purchase as few as possible)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thin
1 container (8 oz.) fresh portobello or mushrooms of your choice, sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lemon (zest lemon first)
½ cup water
Zest from 1 lemon
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 bunch parsley, de-stemmed and chopped
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup uncooked short grain rice or paella rice
Toast saffron threads by placing in aluminum foil. Place aluminum foil on hot skillet for about 1 minute. Remove and open aluminum foil.
Saute mushrooms and onion in olive oil in skillet for about 5 minutes.
Add vegetable broth, lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil.
Add rest of ingredients (including toasted saffron threads). Stir well. Bring to a boil and then simmer on a low boil. Now, do not stir! Cook until rice is desired tenderness and liquid has evaporated (again, no stirring!). This usually takes around 30-35 minutes. You want the bottom of the pan to get crusty, slightly burnt. This brings out the flavor of all of the ingredients. Remove from heat and cover for about 10 minutes.
Make sure you scrape some of the bottom crust for each serving!