Simple Vegetable Paella

3 1/2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or garlic broth
Generous pinch (about 1/2 teaspoon) saffron threads or 2 tsp paella seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper, cut into strips
2 cups medium-grain rice, preferrably Arborio
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
2 or 3 baby artichokes, trimmed and sliced (may also use frozen artichoke hearts, sliced)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen lima beans
1 cup shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Crush the saffron threads between your fingertips, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon warm water, and set aside.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy frying pan, an earthenware casserole (cazuela) set over a flame tamer, or a paella pan. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the peppers begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika and rice. Cook, stirring, for one minute until the grains begin to crackle. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they cook down slightly and smell fragrant, about five minutes. Stir in the saffron with its soaking water, scraping in every last bit with a rubber spatula. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3. Add the stock, green beans, artichokes and chickpeas or lima beans. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer without stirring until the liquid has just about evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the peas. Continue to simmer until the rice is dry, another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

Recipe adapted from the New York Times
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