Lightly coat a deep nonstick frying pan with cooking spray or a teaspoon of olive oil. Heat, then sauté the onion, green pepper, celery and garlic for about 3 minutes or until the onion is almost soft. Stir in the mushrooms and rice, and sauté for a further 2 minutes or until the rice turns golden.
Stir in the tomato juice, stock, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce the heat, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes.
Cover again and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork to check that it is cooked and to keep the rice from sticking together. Discard the bay leaf before serving.
Some more ideas
*Add 250g frozen peas in step 3 during the last 8 minutes of cooking. *Although not traditional, you could make Spanish rice with brown rice instead of the white, and greatly boost both the nuttiness of the dish and its nutritional value. In step 3, cover and cook brown rice for 40–50 minutes or until tender.
Tomato juice is an excellent liquid to cook with. It adds flavour and colour to your dishes, as well as helping to minimise fattier additions like butter or oil. Best of all, it is rich in nutrients that are great for blood pressure and the heart, such as beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamin C.