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Author Notes: This recipe uses a great method for cooking brown rice: baking. In this case, the rice is baked with vegetables, herbs, and chickpeas to make a fantastic vegetarian dish; paired with a salad or steamed veggies, it is one of my favorite light-but-satisfying meals. I prefer using short grain brown rice for its texture, but other types of rice are fine, too-- just subtract 1/2 cup of liquid if you're using white rice. There are all kinds of great additions that can be used with this recipe: artichoke hearts, green beans, mushrooms, zucchini, fresh tomatoes, hearts of palm. And though it's not a very Spanish touch, a hearty splash of vinegary pepper sauce (like Tabasco or Crystal) is a great way to add a zingy garnish. —vvvanessa
Serves 4 as a main dish
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 small onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium carrot, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 rib of celery, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 6 saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen, defrosted)
- 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (one 15-ounce can, drained)
- 1/2 cup meaty green olives, pitted and halved (Spanish manzanillas or Italian cerignolas work well)
- 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped parsely
- 4 lemon wedges
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- In a large, oven-safe pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté bay leaf, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery until almost tender, about 7 minutes.
- Add in red bell peppers and continue to cook until they begin to soften, about 4 more minutes.
- Add the rice and saffron. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another couple of minutes to get the rice lightly toasted.
- Mix tomato paste into water or stock. Add the combined liquids to the rice-vegetable base.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine well.
- Raise heat to high. Allow mixture to come to a boil for 2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Cover pan with an oven-safe lid or carefully cover tightly with aluminum foil. Set pan in oven.
- Cook for 40-50 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through but still slightly al dente, not mushy.
- Remove pan from oven and carefully remove the cover. Gently stir in the peas, garbanzos, and olives. Return the pan to the oven uncovered for 5 minutes or just long enough for the peas, garbanzos, and olives to heat through.
- Serve hot with a garnish parsley and squeeze of lemon.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Chickpeas
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Paella
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Savory Rice Dish
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