Summer Mushroom Paella

Monday, June 19, 2017
Continuing my focus on exploring European Cuisine, last night I made mushroom paella and it's honestly one of my favorite things I've made.  I always ask Alex if this is a repeat meal, and this time it was a resounding "YES!"

This meal is so flavorful, super easy, and really fun to experiment with, which I always encourage.  Don't like mushrooms? Sub them with broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, or any other hearty veggie of your choice.  The recipe I based this on called for scallops, and my go-to sub for shellfish is always mushrooms.  Especially when substituting them for scallops, they maintain the same consistency and you can season and marinate them the exact same way. I often cook them escargot style, with lots of butter and white wine, but that's a different post (and yes, it will be coming shortly!).

Anyway, this meal is really easy and a total crowd pleaser.  Bring this to your next summer picnic, or outdoor party, and blow everyone's minds with your skills because this tastes like it's really difficult and can be presented to look really impressive.

My secret weapons for this dish are smoked paprika and Himalayan sea salt.  The paprika gives it a really nice spicy kick and not to mention a gorgeous pop of color on top.

2 packets Mahatma Saffron Yellow Rice (you can use whatever you want here, but I use this because it's delicious and super easy and I hate making rice)
Earth Balance vegan butter

1 lb mushrooms, halved
1/2 yellow or red bell pepper
1/2 onion
2 green onions
3 garlic gloves (I love garlic, so you can take this down to 2 if you want)
cilantro (to taste)
Himalayan sea salt
Smoked paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups white wine
2 cups vegetable broth
Vegan sausage (I use andouille for the spice) 

Prepare your rice using measurements on the package.  Boil 1 2/3 cup water and 1 tbsp. Earth Balance vegan butter PER PACKET of rice.  Let this simmer while you begin the rest of the dish.

Heat oil in pan on medium heat.  Lower heat, then add the chopped garlic cloves and green onions.  Next, add in your mushrooms and sausage and brown them both.  Add in the chopped bell pepper and onion, and throw in the salt and pepper.  Let these flavors mingle a bit, then add in the cilantro.

Let simmer for a bit longer and add in the cooked rice.  I let this sit on the stove simmering on low heat for about 10-15 minutes, but keep an eye on it and don't let the rice dry out.  There should be enough moisture with the vegetable broth and wine to keep it going for a bit. You can add more of either one if it starts to look dry.

Serve, and top with a bit more paprika and a few sprigs of cilantro and enjoy.  Pop open your favorite bottle of wine, or make some sangria and enjoy this outside under some lights with friends on a warm summer night and you'll feel like you're in Barcelona.

(This dish is by no means authentic, but is inspired by Spanish tradition with my own special twist, as are most of my meals)

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