Saffron for Fall Paella and Risotto

If you plant your saffron crocus bulbs in September, you’ll be harvesting saffron for fall and winter paella and risotto. Each year, for at least five years, your harvest will multiply by many fold. The plant about is from a second-year plant. The first year the plants only have one blossom, but with 25 or more bulbs, you’ll have a first harvest for that paella. Order now in lots of 25 or 50 for early September shipping.

Chicken and Artichoke Paella

This is one of my favorite versions. I cook it in a paella pan on my Weber, but it can be done on the stove top as well.

1 cup large dry white beans or fresh shelling beans

salt and pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs winter savory

1 chicken or rabbit, about 2 1/2 pounds, cut in small pieces

1 teaspoon Spanish paprika

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

4 to 5 cups chicken broth, heated

8 small artichokes, upper 1/3 removed, outer leaves peeled back to yellow center and cut in half (soak in acidulated water until ready to use)

2 sprigs rosemary, minced

1 pound fresh peas, shelled

1 pound fava beans, shelled (optional)

1 pound thin green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

¼ pound pancetta, in ¼ inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed and soaked in 2 tablespoons heated broth

2 1/2 cups Bomba or arborio rice

lemon wedges

If dry beans, soak the beans overnight. Bring to a boil with a teaspoon of sea salt, a fresh bay leaf and a 2 sprigs winter savory, and then simmer until tender, about 1 1 /2 hours. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Set aside in a bowl, glazed with some of the cooking liquid to prevent drying. If fresh, shell the beans and cook as above, until tender, about 45 minutes.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme and set aside.

Prepare a charcoal or wood fire, with the coals to be 8 inches below the grill. When the coals are hot, set the paella pan on the grill, over the coals. Add the olive oil and when it is warm, add the chicken, sautéing and turning often, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions, garlic, and tomatoes to the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the soft, about 7 to 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, add the broth, drained white beans, artichokes, peas, favas if using, beans, rosemary, pancetta, and rice. Stir well, and cook uncovered without further stirring until the rice is nearly tender and much of the liquid absorbed, about 20 minutes. Tuck in the fava beans. Check the bottom that the rice is crisping, but not burning. Remove the pan when the rice still is a tiny bit firm. Cover with foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8