This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was brought to us by 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. Trained under well-known Ferran Adria at his three Michelin star restaurant El Bulli, José Andrés now lives in Washington DC and owns several restaurants in Washington DC area such as El Jaleo, Zaytinya and Oyamel. This recipe is from his US TV show Made in Spain.
My (and my taste-tester’s) favorite part of this recipe is the Allioli. I have made paella before many times but we never served it with garlic paste. I must say that a little bit of the allioli mixed with every spoonful of the rice tasted heavenly! It goes without saying that we do love our garlic….but it did make a difference in the way one tastes this Catalonian dish.
I pretty much stuck to the recipe except for a couple of things: I used squid instead of cuttlefish. And mostly the tentacles as that is our favorite part of the squid. Instead of water or fish stock, I used 2 cans of beer (some quirky family recipe of making paella!). I also added crushed chili pepper in the sofrito and used turmeric in the rice instead of saffron. For rice, I substituted short grain brown rice which required more liquid to cook (thus the 2 cans of beer for 1/2 cup of rice).
Here is Chef Jose’s recipe as provided by Olga:
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available)
- 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
- 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
- 1 glass of white wine
- 2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed 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, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.
- 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 it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
- Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) – optional
- Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
- Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
- If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.
- Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
- Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
- Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
- Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
- Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
- Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
- Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
- 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.
- Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
- Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.
Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)
- 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
- Touch of ground cumin
- Touch of dried oregano
- Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
- Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- Pinch of salt
- Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
- Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)
- Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
- 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.)
- Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
- Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
- 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.
- 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.
José’s tips for traditional recipe: It’s hard to think that, when you start crushing the garlic, it will ever turn into something as dense and smooth as allioli. But don’t give up. It’s worth the extra time and effort to see the oil and garlic come together before your eyes. Just make sure you’re adding the olive oil slowly, drop by drop. Keep moving the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion and keep dreaming of the thick, creamy sauce at the end of it all.