Autumn, in full swing // Washington, DC’s transition from summertime into Autumn was instantaneous- a seemingly overnight shift in the air leaving me nostalgic, chilled, and inspired. It seems as I grow older, I grow more conscious of the subtle details of change- the gradual shift in colors, smells, my visible exhalations floating into the atmosphere. I’ve grown more conscious of the passing of time and though each moment feels like this desperate plea to hold onto passing seasons, passing moments, I’ve also become more mindful of how that time’s crept into my present. Always with me, always helping me grow.
Last night, my friends and I gathered for ‘the great pumpkin potluck’-a hysterically festive dinner indulging and celebrating Autumn, our community, our cohesion. Everyone brought something to the table; Andrew and I put our heart and souls into what can only be described as one of the better things I’ve (we’ve) ever made: my [invite everyone over] Autumn Vegetable Paella. Making enough to feed a small army of lovely friends, this turmeric and saffron spiced brown rice paella is made with butternut squash, brussels sprouts, artichoke hearts, fennel, and locally handmade tempeh sausage (aka EVERYTHING); a true testament to Autumn’s harvest, the power of a communal meal, and the deep flavors that can only be achieved through slow and mindful preparation.
a special thank you to Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant for lending me their paella pan- you made the most beautiful evening possible – 1622 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
½ cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon, divided
3 vegan sausage (I used a tempeh based, variety)
1 large red onion, diced
6 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 bulb fennel, fronds and stems removed, bulb cut into thin strips
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite sized cubes
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
4 dried bay leaves
¾ teaspoon paprika
1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups short grain brown rice
1 cup dry white wine
3 pinches saffron threads
6 cups vegetable stock, brought to a boil
1 can (15 ounces) artichoke hearts, thoroughly rinsed and drained
1 cup pitted black olives, sliced into thin rings
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until just hot. Add sausages, coat with oil, then gently sear until golden brown – being sure not to over-rotate them so they don’t fall apart (about 8 minutes). Remove sausages from skillet and carefully slice (on the diagonal) into ½ inch rings. Return rings to skillet and sear for an additional 2 minutes, or until all sides are well browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In a large paella pan or shallow skillet (about 15″ diameter), heat olive oil over medium-high heat until just hot. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion has softened (about 6 minutes). Add the fennel, squash, and brussels, and continue to sauté until all vegetables are soft and browned (about 25 minutes). Stir in bay leaves, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne continue to sauté until spices are just fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add the brown rice and stir thoroughly for 2 minutes before adding the white wine and saffron. Boil down for a minute, then add the boiling stock. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer paella for 85 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Do not stir the rice.
Remove the paella pan from the heat. Scatter the artichoke and seared sausage (see above) over the rice and cover the pan tightly with foil. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Take off the foil. Scatter the olives on top of he paella and serve sprinkled with parsley. Enjoy!
Nutritional Information [per serving]
385 Calories, 55g Carbohydrates, 14.4g Fat, 6.6g Protein, 4.1g Fiber, 3.3g Sugar