One-Pot Wonders

Guiso deĀ Pulpo

May  5, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

I spent a few days in Madrid around New Year's and stumbled upon the Taberna Maceiras, a Galician tavern. They weren't open when I walked by, but something about it spoke to me. When we returned that evening and, 20 minutes before they were to open, there was already a line forming, I knew I'd made the right choice.

There were so many highlights, but the most magical was the Guiso de Pulpo, a simple stew of rice and octopus brought to the table in the battered pot it was cooked in. It was one of those close-your-eyes-and-savour-the-flavour moments.

This is my attempt to re-create the dish. I have made it with both baby octopus and the more fully grown sort, but I think baby works best as the larger ones can be a bit tough. Frozen octopus is actually best, though fresh is fine as well, as long as it has been properly beaten. —innoabrd

What You'll Need
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 red bell or other sweet peppers, sliced into half-rings
  • 1 can chopped/crushed Italian tomatoes (I either buy them that way, or empty a can of whole ones into a bowl and smoosh them a few times with a potato masher)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Spanish sweet pimenton
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups rice, arborio, bomba or other similar variety
  • 4 1/2 cups fish stock
  • large pinch saffron, soaked in warm water
  • 2 1/2 pounds octopus, cut into bite sized bits
  • 5 1/2 ounces finely ground roasted almonds
  • 1 bunch parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Saute the onions in a bit of olive oil with a pinch of salt until they are golden.
  2. Add the garlic, bay leaves and red peppers and continue to saute until the peppers soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes and pimenton and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the white wine and simmer for a few moments, then add the rice, stock, saffron (with its soaking water) and the octopus. Stir,add a bit of salt, bring to a boil, stir once more and then cover and turn the heat down to low.
  5. After about 20 minutes, the rice should be getting close to done. Check it, and if it is nearly done, stir in the almonds and parsley and continue cooking, uncovered, until the rice is done and the dish has a thick, wet, but not soupy consistency. Correct the seasoning and let sit, covered, for about 10 minutes before serving.

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1 Review

Natalie R. October 4, 2016
I really enjoyed this stew. It reminded me a lot of risotto with how thick it become, and the leftovers only got better. The almonds were probably my favorite addition - they really balanced the flavor. I'll admit that I did cook the octopus separately so I could peel it, since the one I had was very mature and tough (despite freezing it). I used the cooking liquid as my fish stock along with leftover wine-and-water from cooking the other half of the octopus earlier (it was a big one). Reducing the two batches of cooking liquid made an excellent concentrate.

I sadly can't afford saffron, so I omitted it. Everything else was as-written. If you have a bad octopus, this recipe will make the most of it.