Well, happy Labor Day, everybody! I hope this post finds you happy and well as you celebrate the end of summer!
I have a sunny gnosh that looks like a handful of summer: portable paella pucks.
Making and eating any kind of paella delivers instant memories of a Spanish adventure a few years back. A year before Kevin and I married, we traveled to Spain to stay with our friends, Jim and Anna. Anna had a one-year teaching appointment at the University of Sevillle, so they invited us to come and stay for a week in their (surprisingly) spacious apartment in the heart of the city.
Jim and Anna are two of the most generous people one could ever meet; they took us on daily excursions throughout the city and across the Andalusian region (all with their two little girls in tow!). And because they knew I was into food, eating was central to everything we did. I was a tapas-aholoic by the time we departed.
Of all the dishes sampled, paella, the saffron-scented rice dish became a fast favorite, and I returned to the States with not one, but three, styles and shapes of paella pans. Yes, I am a nut. I’ve made many versions of paella since then, but why not a convenient, hand-held version for energy on the go?
Why not, indeed!
My puck interpretation relies on readily-available ingredients: peas times three (green peas, chickpeas, plus some chickpea flour), cooked brown rice (make ahead, buy it frozen, or even use instant brown rice) and roasted peppers. For flavor, garlic, olive oil, and turmeric, the latter of which takes the place of expensive saffron.
I added psyllium husk to hold things together, but I have options for flax and chia seeds, too. The chickpea flour batter does some binding, and, if you use a short-grain brown rice, the stickiness of the starch helps, too. But you still need an extra binder (psyllium, flax or chia) to make these super-portable.
I love the resulting texture that comes from baking these in a muffin tin: the rice gets crackly-crunch at the outer edges, yet the interior rice stays tender; it’s a combination of textures that I loved about the authentic paella in Spain.
Happy eats, everyone! I am packing some of these for a post-biking snack later this afternoon!