I’ll admit, this was one of the most boujee mid-week dinners I think I’ve ever made. But, my excuse is that I’ve had a couple of days off to spend with G & I’s new puppy (Roka!) and so I was feeling adventurous on Tuesday evening. As with most of the recipes I’ve posted recently, I’ve been experimenting with new cookbooks that I got for Christmas and this one is from ‘The Hairy Biker’s Veggie Feasts‘ and I can tell you that this was an absolute FEAST! Who knew, artichoke and fennel paella would taste and look so good?! Well G rated it one of his favourite meals that I’ve ever made, so you can take that how you wish (his other fave being vegan corn fritters!)…

chargrilled fennel wedges

I always get a bit nervous about cooking paella or risotto from cookbooks because usually they say ‘cook the rice for 15 minutes and then it’s ready’ and well… it never is ready and takes WAY longer to cook. Is it just me that finds that?! Anyways, given this recipe calls for you not to stir the rice/add any more water I really wasn’t sure how well the rice would cook. But, I fought my inner judgement and followed the method as laid out by the Hairy Biker’s and I’m glad I did – it was perfectly cooked and didn’t rely on me standing over the hob worrying.

I was also a bit nervous about the fennel, because although it sounds fancy, I’ve not really had it much before. It was only when I googled the best way to slice it into wedges that someone described it as having a liquorice smell/flavour. I hate liquorice so I was very uncertain to how this dish would turn out. What I would say is… don’t let this put you off because combined with all the other ingredients in the dish (and with them being chargrilled beforehand) they are absolutely DELICIOUS and just add a texture and flavour in a way that’s actually hard to describe – just really yummy!

artichoke and fennel paella cooking

Overall a 10/10 dinner and personally think it’s a real showstopper!! Would definitely make this again for G & I, perhaps even a dinner party.

So without further ado I give you the Hairy Biker’s Artichoke & Fennel Paella… Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Artichoke and fennel paella is served

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Artichoke & Fennel Paella
  1. Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a large frying pan and fry the fennel wedges over a high heat, turning them regularly, until caramelised on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and gently cook the onion and green pepper over medium heat until very soft and starting turn brown. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary, then sprinkle over the paprika and stir for a couple of minutes.
  3. While the onion/pepper is cooking, make the stock in a jug with boiling water. Add the saffron, tomato puree and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and leave to infuse until ready to use.
  4. Add the rice to the pan with the onion and pepper, stir for a minute to coat it with the flavoured oil. Spread it over the pan as evenly as you can and then pour in the stock.
  5. Arrange the beans, fennel, green beans and artichoke hearts over the rice. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and cook for about 20 minutes over gentle heat, until most of the stock has been absorbed (avoid stirring).
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with foil and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Serve with a side salad & enjoy!
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