Friday, August 14, 2009

Daring Cooks: Spanish rice with Cuttlefish!

This month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge came from Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes She chose a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment.The recipe is from his US TV show Made in Spain.

A quick note about my lack of photos: I sit here blogging on my laptop because my desktop, where ALL my pictures are stored, has a nasty virus and won't let me on the internet. So until that gets sorted, you'll have to imagine my yummy rice!

How appropriate that we had a Spanish dish this month! It whetted our appetites for our fast-approaching trip to Spain. (Yes, we do plan vacations around food... and drink... Can you say "Rioja"? But I digress...

And what a good recipe it was! After many stops, I finally found baby cuttlefish. I also added some shrimp, chorizo, chicken, and a little lobster! YUM! I couldn't find the Spanish rice called for but Whole Foods carried a short grain brown rice. It gave the dish a nutty texture so common with brown rice, not to mention all of the health benefits. To make sure the chicken was super-tender, I sprinkled it with salt, pepper and smoked Spanish paprika, then browned it before letting it simmer with the rice.

A fabulous dish - and very adaptable. Use whatever meat or seafood suits you. Throw in some veggies and you're on your way to Spain... Oh wait, I'm on my way... can you tell I'm excited!? We leave in just over a week, so check back to see where we're headed.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 Artichokes (I used 1 can drained and quartered)
  • 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
  • 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 Cuttlefish (you can use frozen cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)
  • “Sofregit” (see recipe below)
  • 300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred)
  • Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
  • Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
  • Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optional

1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean them and cut into eights (or quarters for smaller ones)
4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
11. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

(a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at timesdifferent vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hourIngredients:
· 2 tablespoons of olive oil
· 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
· 2 small onions, chopped
· 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
· 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
· 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
· 1 Bay leaf
· Salt
· Touch of ground cumin
· Touch of dried oregano

1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
2. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)

Allioli (Traditional recipe)Cooking time: 20 min aprox.Ingredients:
· 4 garlic cloves, peeled
· Pinch of salt
· Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
· Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)

1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
2. Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
5. Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
6. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.

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