It’s taken me 8 years to make Paella-style anything at home and I am so glad I did!
Can you believe we are already at the end of April? It feels like only yesterday it was Liana’s first day of high-school and now April holidays are almost over. Where does the time go?
I’ll tell you where… Emails! That’s where a lot of mine went.
Work. Life. I’ve found myself working on a number of projects and did some travelling for The Wholesome Cook book including demos at Mind Body Spirit Festival in Brisbane over my birthday weekend. Then, I blinked and April holidays were upon us.
Quick dinners like this one became our mealtime staples.
I first fell in love with paella in 2008 during a trip to Spain where the rice-based dish is a bit of a national staple. However, it’s been one of those enjoy when out, but don’t make it at home dishes probably for the fact that not everyone in the family is as crazy about seafood as me with which the dish is traditionally dotted.
It’s also taken me quite some time to find the kind of rice that everyone would enjoy, since aside from Matt we are only occasional rice eaters.
When Tilda basmati rice company approached me about creating a recipe using their Basmati rice I was a little skeptical for the very same reason. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how good their rice tasted! It has a delicious slightly ‘nutty’ flavour and light, fluffy texture that’s retained when cooked into the paella-style dish. It didn’t give me any discomfort either, something that regular longrain rice tends to do so I avoid it.
I’ve heard it is a bit like the champagne of rice (Basmati can only be grown in one place on earth – the Himalayan foothills), so it has to be good, right? I might be a convert…
Not to mention the convenience of steam-pouches. Personally, I don’t microwave the rice, instead I prefer to steam it for a couple of minutes to heat it through or add it to saucy numbers like this paella-meatball number or even the Sweet and Sour Pork in the archives here.
And so, thanks to a couple of small changes like using Tilda’s Basmati and swapping the seafood for meatballs from The Wholesome Cook book, this particular dish is on quite a regular rotation and a huge hit with the family. It gets the kids in the kitchen and I’ve made sure to add a good serving of veg to the mix, too. Perfect quick mid-week fix when too many emails await.
So, tell me, what are your favourite ways to use rice? I might have to try them!
Paella-style Meatball Soup
- 2 pinches saffron threads
- 1.5 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 300 g grass-fed beef mince
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large fennel, fronds removed, bulb diced finely
- 1 large carrot, diced finely
- 1 large handful green beans, ends trimmed, beans cut into 1pieces
- 8 small button mushrooms, cut in half
- a good pinch salt
- 2 cups passata
- 250 g (1 packet) steamed plain Basmati rice - I used Tilda
- 150 g baby spinach
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add saffron threads and heat for a few seconds, or until fragrant. Remove from the pan and mix with the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Set aside.
- Knead the mince in a large bowl and form into 20 meatballs. Return pan to medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil, chopped fennel, carrot, beans and mushrooms. Season with salt and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until the vegetables are lightly caramelised. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the meatballs. Cook for 5 minutes or until browned and gently turn over, cover the frying pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add spices and passata, then gently stir the sauce and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes.
- Before opening the rice packet, break up the rice by squeezing the packet. Add to the dish along with baby spinach and stir, to heat through.
- If you prefer a more soupy consistency, add an extra cup of passata (or water) to the finished dish.
This recipe was created for Tilda Basmati and is considered a sponsored post.