This is one of the very first meals I made here in France. I had grabbed a Donna Hay Magazine at the airport before my flight, and dog eared the page on how to make a classic paella. It was a dish I had never made before, but figured, hey, new country, new recipes. I didn’t have any saffron, I hardly had any kitchenware or baking dishes, but I had friends on their way and some rosé in the fridge. It all worked out in the end, sometimes, the details aren’t important.
I have since invested in a small jar of saffron, and have accumulated many second hand baking dishes and kitchen tools over the past two years. My little mismatched french kitchen feels like home now, and those new experimental recipes have become our comfort food.
This is just the type of recipe that comes in handy this time of year, it feeds the soul as well as a small crowd. Can be served hot or cooled down to room temperature, depending on what type of summer night you’ve got, and any leftovers pack up well for a picnic lunch. It’s fresh, a little spicy and pairs well with a large green salad, perhaps some crusty bread and a cold glass of rosé. Classic. Comfort. Cheers!
CHICKPEA PAELLA WITH MILLET, ARTICHOKES + LEMON
I know, I know, a paella is a rice dish and therefore should be made wtih rice, but I just love the yellow hue of those little millet seeds here. That being said, if you are a purest feel free to substitute the millet for arborio or short grain brown rice, or even the traditional Calasparra rice if you can get your hands on some. Serves 4. Vegan & Gluten Free. Inspired by Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 61.
1 yellow onion, diced
4 small garlic cloves, crushed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas ( or 1 x 400g can, drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cup millet, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 x 400ml can diced tomatoes
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
water as needed
1 x 300g jar of store bought marinated artichoke hearts, drained and halved
Half an english cucumber, peeled into ribbons
1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
Cracked black pepper
Add olive oil, onion and garlic to a non stick stove top pan, and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chopped red pepper and cook together until soft and tender, another 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, millet and spices and cook everything together for a few minutes, giving time to slightly toast the millet and coat the chickpeas in the spices.
Squeeze over the lemon juice, and stir to remove any bits stuck on the bottom, then add in the diced tomatoes and vegetable stock, bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for 15 minutes, stirring as little as possible and adding a bit of water if all the liquid has been absorbed. Check the millet, you want it to be just cooked, al dente. Continue cooking for another minute or two if needed, then remove from heat, top with artichoke hearts, cover with aluminium foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Top with cucumber ribbons, fresh mint and lemon zest!
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