I went home for a couple of days for Christmas, and it was nice to see my family people. The last time I was home was before Thanksgiving. My mom, not accustomed to having someone around that doesn’t eat most animal products, only had butter and cream cheese and regular milk around for breakfast type things. I made a crack about having to eat dry bread, which must have made her feel bad because before I came home for Christmas she let me know that she had bought me a jar of marmalade so I didn’t have to eat dry toast this time.
I appreciated it.
She also found a recipe that we could make together and take to Christmas dinner. Ham and roast beef were on the menu, so I was pretty out of luck. I usually make something meatless to share. Sometimes people like it. Sometimes it scares people, like the Three Sisters Casserole I made for some holiday. I had topped it with a poor attempt at polenta and then tried to get it brown and crispy but it just ended up oily and gross looking. It tasted good! But it sure was hard to get people to try it.
Anyway, my mom said she found a recipe for a rice and vegetables dish with saffron or Spanish paprika in it. She had looked for saffron but couldn’t find any, and I had Spanish paprika so I brought that home with me. The recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens and it’s a Mario Batali recipe. He’s a pretty cool guy. Thanks to him and my mom I had some awesome vegan Christmas food.
The recipe makes a ton and is a good dish to make and share or freeze leftovers for lots of lunches. It cooks like a risotto and ends up nice and creamy. I’d like to try it again with saffron! This, along with the roasted Brussels sprouts and parsnips with pecans that my mom also made were a great dinner.
Spanish-Style Rice with Winter Vegetables
1 – 2 tsp saffron threads or Spanish paprika
7 – 8 cups vegetable broth
2 cups Arborio rice
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
½ medium rutabaga or 1 small – medium turnip, peeled and cubed
½ small acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
Combine saffron or paprika and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Put vegetable broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and keep warm.
In a large skillet combine the rice and the saffron or paprika mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the carrot, pepper, rutabaga or turnip and acorn squash along with 1 cup of the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Let simmer and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed and the rice is just tender (about 5 cups of broth total).
Add the onion and zucchini and 1 cup broth. Cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add another 1 – 2 cups of broth, stirring and simmering until each cup is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Remove from heat and stir in the olive oil.
The recipe above is as we made it. The original recipe calls for mushrooms and green onions instead of a yellow or white one. There was lots of chopping and stirring but this came together pretty quickly.