I know I’m late on this posting, but the past month has been exceptionally busy and the next month is not looking much better. For August’s Daring Cooks challenge the recipe was chosen by Olga of Las Cosas de Olga. The recipe was a traditional Spanish dish called rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by Jose Andres.
I have to say though that I’m a little disappointed in Olga because I have the cookbook from which this recipe comes and she made some noticeable changes between his and her versions and I do not understand why. In the spirit of the challenge though, and because I had already made her version of the sofregit, I decided to make her version. With the only changes being that I substituted chicken and shrimp for the cuttlefish, because really, where am I supposed to find cuttlefish in Oshkosh, Wisconsin? Seriously people, we need to pick recipes with ingredients that are common across the states, even in smaller towns; unlike this month’s cuttlefish and last month’s skate (for those of you who don’t know skate is a type of ray fish). I also did not make the allioli because I just did not have the time.
Overall though my husband and I thought the meal was good, but we have since determined that saffron is not one of our favorite spices. It is not a bad spice, just not one of our favorites. I think I would have preferred some more garlic and onion flavoring instead. Our favorite part of this meal was the sofregit. It really added a nice freshness to the dish. Even though the recipe only called for 3 Tbsp of the sofregit, but you had to make about 4 cups, we used the rest as a sauce on top of the rice. I really liked the smokiness that the cumin added to it and it gave me an excuse to use some of our homegrown tomatoes and vegetables. Sorry for the bad picture, I found that this dish is not very photogenic.
Here is the recipe if anyone would like to try it. If they want the actual recipe by Jose Andres, it can be found in his book, Made in Spain.
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 (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)-
Cooking time: aprox. 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
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!)
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: 20 min aprox.
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.