The paella cooking method is, to me at least, far easier than risotto. But this is neither a mushroom risotto nor paella, because the flavour base is Filipino adobo seasoning.
The first paella I made in my Le Creuset paella pan is this green vegetable version. I thought a mushroom version of that paella would be great, and it would be. But this one has a twist, using Filipino adobo seasoning instead of the traditional Spanish sofrito.
3½ cups vegetable stock (2 cubes worth, or 3-4 tsp my friend Jenny’s homemade stock paste)
3 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin, just ordinary)
1 medium onion, diced
3 shallots, white and green parts, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 tsp adobo seasoning (I use Simply Organic brand)
salt to taste (1 tsp, for my taste) and extra if using low-salt vegetable stock
1¼ cup of Calasparra rice
300-400g mixed mushrooms (swiss brown, shiitake, enoki, oyster, whatever)
¼ cup or about 15g dried mixed mushrooms, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup finely shredded kale (Tuscan or curly)
lemon wedges, if desired
Boil the kettle, ready to make the 3½ cups of vegetable stock.
Warm 2 tbsp olive oil in the paella pan, on the wok burner’s low setting. Turn up the heat a bit and saute the fresh mushrooms until they are a bit crisped and golden. Remove half of them from the pan and keep to one side.
Turn the wok burner heat down to low again. Add the extra 1 tbsp of olive oil, and saute the onions until lightly bronzed and softened. Add the shallots and garlic and keep frying for a few minutes.
Stir in the adobo seasoning, quickly followed by the rice, and toss for a minute or so until the rice is spice-coated. Keep going until the rice becomes white and opaque.
Mix up the vegetable stock paste or powder in the boiling water. Add the stock to the pan, the soaked dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Stir it together quickly, and reduce it to a not-too-slow simmer. Lay over the set-aside mushrooms, peas, and kale.
No more stirring!
Let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and the soccarrada can form.
If the rice dries out before it’s cooked, pour over more hot water or stock and cook for another minute or two.
To create the soccarrada, after the rice on top is cooked, turn up the heat of the wok burner to high for a minute or two, until the rice sizzles and has absorbed all traces of liquid.
Turn off the heat, and cover it with a clean tea towel. Let it continue to steam itself under its cover for 5 to 10 minutes, so the soccarrada can release from the pan, and the vegetables finish cooking too.
Serve with lemon wedges.