Monday, July 26, 2010

Drunken Octopus (Cypriot Recipe)

Recipe for 4

1kg octopus
8tablespoons olive oil
5-6 onions chopped into thick pieces
13 cup red wine
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 can tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon tomato puree
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Whole black pepper


First step is to clean thoroughly the octopus. Pull off the tentacles, remove and discard the intestines and the ink sac, the eyes and the beak. Skin the octopus and wash and scrub it thoroughly to remove any traces of sand. This can also be done by the fish shop if you ask them.
Cut it into 4-5cm pieces and put it into a saucepan over medium heat to release the liquid. Stir the octopus until this liquid has evaporated.
Pour on the oil and stir the octopus to seal it on all sides. Add the onions and cook them, stirring once or twice, until they color slightly.
Add the wine, the vinegar, tomatoes, tomato puree, bay leaves, oregano and several grindings of pepper. Stir well, cover the pan and simmer on low heat for 1-1.25 hrs, checking from time to time that the sauce has not dried out. If it does - and this would only happen if the heat were too high - add a little more wine or water. The octopus is cooked when it can be easily pierced with a fork.
The sauce should be thick, like a runny paste. If any of the liquid separates, remove the lid from the pan, slightly increase the heat and stir until some of the liquid evaporates and the sauce thickens.
Discard the bay leaves and taste the sauce. If necessary adjust the seasoning.
Serve, preferably, with rice and some crusty bread to enjoy the creamy sauce.