Black-Eyed Pea Paella and a review of The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.

Kim O’Donnel knows meat eaters. In fact, she is one. As a voice for the Meatless Monday campaign, she’s been cooking up delicious you-won’t-miss-the-meat fare for the vegetarian-curious-but-vegan’s-too-crazy crowd. With a focus on holidays (or any celebration), O’Donnel’s versatile recipes ensure that eaters of all dietary stripes will leave the table satisfied. Cast aside those fears of cardboard tofurkey and gray starches. Instead, revel in dishes that inspire, surprise, and are so tasty, “meatless” is an afterthought (with allergy- and animal- free options, to boot).

As someone who is trying to eat less meat I found this cookbook to be very helpful.  The book is divided into four sections, one for each of the seasons.  Within each season there are several sub-sections.  There is also a wonderful section that gives ideas for stocking a meatless pantry along with descriptions of each ingredient.

The layout of the book is clean and the recipes are easy to find within the pages.  The pictures are colorful and gorgeous.  The recipes are full of flavor and are great for people trying to eat less meat or for full fledged vegetarians.  I really enjoyed the way the author took meals that traditionally have meat in them and made them vegetarian but still delicious.

Looking through the pages I picked out one recipe from each season to share.  In Fall the Poached Pears with Saffon Tea Sauce looked incredible.  Warm pears drizzled in a spiced sauce would be the perfect compliment to a fall meal.  In Winter I chose the Black-Eyed Pea Paella which I will share below.  The flavors of traditional paella are all in this dish and the rice and beans make up for the lack or meat or seafood.  The Spring section had an amazing Argula Matzo Lasagna which I can’t wait to try.  For Summer I’m excited to try the Grilled Zucchini Hero.  With recipes like these I know I won’t be missing the meat!

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Black-Eyed Pea Paella ( From the book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations by Kim O’Donnel.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2012.

4 cups vegetable stock (I used my own homemade vegetable stock)
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion (more than 1⁄2 medium-size onion)
1 cup seeded and diced bell pepper of your favorite color (about 1 medium-size pepper)
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen black-eyed peas, or 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, cooked
1 1⁄2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 1⁄4 cups tomato puree
1⁄2 teaspoon crumbled saffron (optional)
1⁄2 cup white wine you enjoy drinking
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice (1 pound)
Optional garnishes: Pickled peppers, chopped fresh parsley, lemon zest (I used the pickled peppers and fresh parsley)
TOOLS: 15-inch paella pan
In a medium-size saucepan, warm the vegetable stock until heated
through and keep covered, on low, until ready to use.
Over medium-high heat, heat the paella pan until it’s too hot to place your hand about 3 inches above the pan. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, tilting the pan so that the oil coats the entire bottom surface.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning or sticking.  Add the bell pepper, stir well, and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas and smoked paprika, stirring until the vegetables are evenly coated with the spice, about 90 seconds.

Transfer the black-eyed pea mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Wipe the pan clean with a dry paper towel to remove
any burnt, stuck-on bits. Add the remaining
olive oil plus the garlic and cook over medium heat
until, as chef Andrés says, “they dance.” (When
heated, the garlic moves around the pan in the
bubbling oil.)
Add the tomato puree and stir often, over the next
5 minutes, until the color has transformed from
red to a more golden, orange-brown shade. Add
the saffron, if using. Then add the white wine and
increase the heat to medium-high, stirring to keep
from burning.
Return the black-eyed pea mixture to the pan. Add
the stock. Bring to a boil, taste for salt, then season
accordingly. You want the mixture to be slightly
salty. This is also your last chance to add salt before
the rice is added.
Add the rice and set a timer for 16 minutes. For the
first 6 minutes, gently stir the paella, to minimize
burning and sticking. For the remaining cooking
time, please heed the advice I learned from chef
Andrés: no more stirring or touching. Otherwise, you
will have a gummy rice concoction. This is also why
you cannot add salt at this stage.
At minute 16, taste a grain of rice for doneness. It
should be slightly al dente, like risotto. Turn off the
heat and allow the paella to sit for at least 5 minutes.
The results should be dry, not soupy.
Serve hot in bowls.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *