Oh, how excited to am to be home and in my kitchen today! Our beach vacation was wonderful, but I missed my favorite place….the kitchen! I whipped out several recipes to make today and below is one of the delicious meals I cooked.
One of my absolute favorite magazines is Cooking Light. I love their healthy, easy recipes. This one has been in my stack of recipes to try since the January 2012 issue. The beautiful color and flavors of the meal caught my eye. I have never used saffron in my cooking, so I was intrigued to give this a try. It was also listed in the 20 Minute Cooking section – double bonus! The recipe below is modified to suit our tastes (namely, the vegetable quantities are nearly doubled).
Aren’t the spices beautiful?
splash of olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1.5 pounds large shrimp, peeled and de-veined (if using frozen, defrost your shrimp prior to cooking)
2 cups instant rice, uncooked
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
14 ounce can of chicken broth
1.5 cups frozen peas
juice from 1 lemon (watch for the seeds!)
Heat a large pot over medium heat with a spash of olive oil to coat the bottom. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes until tender. Keep stirring frequently to prevent burn. Add garlic and cook one more minute, then add shrimp and cook one more minute. Stir in the rice then the remaining ingredients except for lemon juice (note, I stirred in frozen peas, if yours are defrosted, wait to add until the dish is nearly done.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is done. Remove from heat, then mix in the lemon juice. I had tossed a few of the squeezed lemon bits into the rice mixture while cooking.
I have to say, I learned a few things about saffron.
1) It is expensive. And hard to find…couldn’t get my hands on it at my local grocery store. I finally found some at Cost Plus. A tiny container came with a large price tag.
2) It doesn’t really add much flavor, but it adds a lot of color. I thought the paprika and lemons colored the rice, but the yellow really derived from the saffron. I loved the way it colored the rice and shrimp.
3) Keep it in an airtight container. I was supposed to “crush” it but my tiny saffron container wasn’t quite sealed and the saffron didn’t really “crush.”
Lastly, if you prefer your bell peppers less cooked and with a bit more crunch, wait to add them when you add the peas. I enjoyed them well cooked, but next time I will wait to add until a bit later.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! I can honestly say I will be making this again.