Cafe Champagne’s Vegetable Paella and 2010 Viognier

Vegetable Paella

Paella is an internationally-known rice dish from Spain.  It originated in the fields of a region called Valencia in eastern Spain.  Today paella is made in every region of Spain, using just about any kind of ingredient that goes well with rice.  There are as many versions of paella as there are cooks.  It may contain chicken, pork, shellfish, fish, eel, squid, beans, peas, artichokes or peppers.  Saffron, the spice that also turns the rice a wonderful golden color is an essential part of the dish.

Today’s pairing is a vegetarian version of paella.  Chef Steve Pickell says, “We’re building flavors throughout this vegetable-only version.”  It’s a gorgeous dish, fit for any table any time of the year.

Visit Thornton Winery and Cafe Champagne  year round, 365 days a year in beautiful Wine Country Temecula, located in Southern California, 60 minutes from San Diego, LA, and Palm Springs.

Vegetable Paella
Compliments of Executive Chef Steve Pickell
Café Champagne at Thornton Winery

Pair with Thornton 201o Viognier ($18) : A popular Rhone -style varietal showcasing a flowery, perfume-like nose with rich honey suckle flavors and crisp acidity. Purchase at the winery or online

Serves 2-4


3 Tbl. olive oil

1/2 Spanish onion finely chopped

1 small red pepper cut into strips

1 small yellow pepper cut into strips

1/2 fennel bulb cut into strips

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 bay leaves

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 bay leaves

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 cup short grain rice

6 Tbl. sherry

1 tsp saffron threads

Sea salt

2 cups vegetable stock

3/4 cup shelled fava beans

12 plum tomatoes halved

6 artichokes hearts marinated in oil

15 pitted kalamata olives

2 Tbl. rough chopped parsley

4 lemon wedges


Heat up the olive oil in a paella pan or a large shallow skillet, and gently fry the onion slices

about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and fennel and saute 5 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook

1 minute.

Add the bay leaves paprika, tumeric and cayenne to the vegetables and stir well. Then add the

rice and stir thoroughly before adding sherry and saffron threads. Cook for about a minute or

two, then add the stock and 1/3 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to medium, cook gently for about 20

minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Do not cover or stir rice during cooking.

Remove the paella from the heat. Scatter the tomatoes, artichokes and fava beans over the rice.

Cover the pan with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Remove foil sprinkle with olives and parsley and serve with lemon wedges