Monday, June 25, 2012

Paella with rabbit and artichokes

1 lemon, halved
2 large artichokes
2 large tomatoes
1 (2- to 2 1/2-lb) rabbit, cut into 12 pieces
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet Spanish smoked paprika*
4 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 cups short- or medium-grain rice

Squeeze juice from 1 lemon half into a bowl of cold water, reserving remaining half. Keeping stem attached, cut off top 2 inches of 1 whole artichoke. Bend back outer leaves until they snap off close to base and discard several more layers of leaves in same manner until exposed leaves are pale green at top and yellow at base.

Trim dark green fibrous parts from base and sides with a sharp paring knife, then rub cut surfaces with reserved lemon half. Trim 1/4 inch from end of stem and trim sides of stem down to pale inner core (don't worry if remaining flesh is very thin), then cut artichoke lengthwise into 8 wedges and cut out choke.
Rub cut surfaces with reserved lemon half and drop artichoke pieces into acidulated water. Trim remaining artichokes in same manner.

Cut a shallow X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch in a 3-quart saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to cool. Peel tomatoes, then discard seeds and finely chop.

Heat oil in paella pan until oil is hot but not smoking. Using pot holders, swirl oil in pan to evenly distribute it, then brown rabbit well on all sides, turning, about 8 minutes total.

Move browned rabbit pieces to outer edge of pan to slow down cooking while artichokes and bell pepper cook.

Add artichokes and bell pepper to center of pan and cook, stirring and turning artichokes frequently, until artichokes are golden brown, about 4 minutes. (Turn rabbit pieces occasionally while cooking artichokes and bell pepper to prevent burning.)

Add tomatoes, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until mixture is thickened, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle mixture with paprika and let cook, undisturbed, 1 minute, then bring rabbit in from sides of pan and stir into tomato mixture. Stir in stock and saffron.

Bring mixture to a boil, then sprinkle rice evenly around pan, avoiding pieces of rabbit. With a wooden spoon, gently agitate mixture to make sure rice is evenly distributed and all rice grains are submerged. (Do not stir again.)

After rice has been cooking for 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium and, continuing to turn pan a quarter turn every 5 minutes, cook until all of liquid is absorbed and each grain of rice is distinct and just tender (similar to al dente), 10 to 15 minutes more. (If all liquid has evaporated and rice is still not tender, sprinkle tepid water, a tablespoon at a time, over rice where needed and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.)

Carefully remove pan from grill, then cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

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