This is a rich octopus and baby onion stew with red wine and spices. The same dish is also often made using rabbit or beef instead of the octopus (the cooking technique will vary slightly). It is important to let this dish sit for at least half an hour before serving as the onions will continue to cook in the hot casserole.
Cut the head off the octopus just below the eyes. Remove the beak by pushing it out through the centre of the tentacles. Cut the eyes from the head by slicing off a small round. Remove the intestines by pushing them out of the head. Rinse the head and tentacles thoroughly and cut up into chunks of about
Add the remaining olive oil and the garlic to the octopus and sauté for a few seconds more. Add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine, bay leaves, chilli, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Season with salt and pepper. Add
Add the onions, mix through gently, cover the pan and cook for another 30 minutes. Hold the pan and lid with a cloth in both hands and hula hoop the pan around occasionally so that it doesn’t stick and the onions remain whole. The octopus and onions should be barely covered with a slightly thickened sauce, but add a little more hot water if it seems necessary. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to cool for about 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm, not piping hot, with your favourite bread and a salad.
© 2004 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.