A wonderfully rich and satisfying dish, this vegetarian version of a classic is a great way to introduce your family to tofu, which is a good source of low-fat protein, vitamins and minerals. Serve hot with a tomato salad.
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2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 aubergine, diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
200g long-grain brown rice
1 litre vegetable stock, hot
2 courgettes, diced
175g closed-cup chestnut mushrooms, quartered
220g pack smoked tofu, diced
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:1hr › Ready in:1hr30min
Heat the oil in a paella pan or other large, heavy-based pan and fry the shallots and garlic gently for 4–5 minutes, to soften. Add the aubergine and fry over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown.
Add the pepper slices and stir for a further 2–3 minutes, then stir the rice into the pan, turning to coat evenly. Add about half the stock and bring to the boil, stirring.
Partially cover the pan and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25–30 minutes, until the rice is beginning to swell. Add a little more stock to moisten, then stir in the courgettes and mushrooms. Continue to cook uncovered for 20–30 minutes, adding more stock as necessary, until the rice is tender and the stock is absorbed. (You might not need all the stock as there will be some variation in absorption depending on the diameter of the pan used and the degree of heat.)
Stir lightly and test the rice by tasting a grain – the grains should be tender with just a slight firmness in the centre. Stir in the tofu and tarragon, if using, then warm through and season to taste. Serve hot.