dc cuttlefish plated

I can never leave good enough alone. This recipe would have been perfect for Meat-Free Friday if I had resisted the temptation to add a little chorizo to it. But I didn’t so there’s no meat-free post this week. Unless you want to make this without the sausage. :)

This month’s Daring Cook’s challenge was hosted by Olga of Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes. She chose the traditional Catalan dish of rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish, and artichokes.

For a daring cooks meal, I actually didn’t find this to be very intimidating. It has a lot of steps, but none are very complicated. I actually made it on a weeknight – and not even a night where I came home straight from work! (I will confess though that dinner wasn’t on the table until 9 – this took about 90 minutes to make). It’s all about time management- make the allioli with the sofregit simmers, then you can relax while the final dish cooks.

dc ingredients

Flavor-wise this was pretty good. I’ll confess that I’m not a big fan of paella, and this was a very paella-y dish. I don’t hate it or anything, but I do find it to be a little bland for my tastes. I loved what the artichoke added to this though. I’ve never had cuttlefish before, and was a little intimidated to use it, so I bought some that was precleaned and frozen from the Asian market. It had a very mild flavor, and a texture similar to squid or octopus. A little chewy, but not really tough. If you can’t find or don’t want cuttlefish, you could easily substitute squid, any other firm white fish, or even chicken. i think it would also be great with mussels and clams, but we might be venturing more into paella territory with that.

I used tomatoes and a green pepper from my garden for this dish. I’m so happy that things are finally ready to be harvested! I had a garden tomato sitting next to a store tomato and the difference in the way they looked was astonishing. I wish I had thought to take a picture. The tomato from the grocery store looked fine until I put it next to the other one – then it looked pale and sickly and not very delicious.

dc cuttlefish

Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish, and Artichokes

For the Sofregit:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 small onions, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • Pinch of dried oregano

For the Allioli:

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh lemon juice (a few drops)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil- I used less than 1/4 cup

For the Final dish:

  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
  • 12 Baby Bella mushrooms, cut into 8ths
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • Cuttlefish (I eyeballed the amount)
  • Spanish Chorizo (I eyeballed it again)
  • 2 cups short grain rice
  • 6 cups seafood stock
  • Pinch of Saffron threads

To make Sofrigit:

Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-high heat until vegetables soften and form a thick sauce. Set aside.

Allioli (do this while the sofregit cooks):

Place the garlic in a mortar along with some salt. Use a pestle to mash the garlic into a thick paste. This might take a few minutes. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a coffee mug and a heavy spoon). Add a few drops of lemon juice. Add the oil, drop by drop, while you continue to mash everything with your pestle. Keep adding oil and mashing very slowly until you have a thick sauce, about the consistency of mayonnaise. This will take about 20 minutes. Chill until ready to use.

To prepare the dish:

Cut the cuttlefish into strips and slice the chorizo into thin rounds. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the fish and chorizo and cook until heated through.  Add the artichokes, mushrooms, and bayleaf. Cook until artichokes begin to brown. Deglaze the pan with a little bit of the wine. Add the sofregit and the seafood stock, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and let boil for 5 minutes. Add the saffron, reduce heat to low, and cook an additional 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit several minutes before serving. To serve, top with a dallop of allioli on each pate.

The original recipe says this will serve 4, but I say it serves at least 6-8.