This month's Daring Cooks challenge hosted by Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes is Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes. I have to say I've been a little disappointed since I've joined Daring Cooks two months ago...Both my husband and daughter are allergic to fish and both recipes so far were centered around fish. I decided to skip last month's challenge due to fish allergies in my house, but this month I was lucky enough to have my mother in law, who is a fish enthusiast, visiting, so I decided to give this challenge a try... Overall it was a pretty straightforward process, but I did make some changes (see below) I also did not use saffron or tumeric, I did not have either in my spice cabinet... I don't know how this happend because I seem to have all spices known to men in my kitchen...LOL As a result, my paella was a bit pale. I've never had a paella before and did not expect to love it, but what a wonderful meal, so flavorful and delicious!!!
Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
1 Chopping Board
1 medium saucepan
1 Paella pan (30 cm/11” is enough for 4 people. If not available, you may use a simple pan that size)
Ingredients: (serves 4):
* 4 Artichokes- I used jarred
* 12 Mushrooms-Portobello
* 1 or 2 Bay leaves
* 1 glass of white wine
* 2 Cuttlefish
* 2 lb of shrimp
* “Sofregit” (see recipe below)
* 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) – ½ cup per person.
* Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
* Saffron threads-skipped this step
* Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) – optional
1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
3. 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.
4. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
5. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
6. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
7. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
8. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
9. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
10. 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.
11. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
12. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes. Add the shrimp and let it steam, so they do not overcook.
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)
Cooking time: approximately 1 hour
* 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
1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
2. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)
Allioli is the optional part of the recipe. You must choose one of the two recipes given, even though I highly recommend you to try traditional one. Allioli is served together with the rice and it gives a very nice taste
Allioli (Traditional recipe)
Cooking time: approximately 20 min
* 4 garlic cloves, peeled
* Pinch of salt
* Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
* Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)
1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
2. 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.)
3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
5. 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.
6. 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.