Arroz de Polvo Malandrinho

If you’ve never eaten octopus I think octopus rice is the best way to try it for the first time.There are many recipes in Portugal which are devoted to the octopus. Arroz de Polvo is one of the most popular and can be found on most menus across Portugal.
The actual recipe varies from restaurant to restaurant, but the recipe below is my own take, based on a traditional recipe using malandrinho rice, spiced and aromatized to enhance the taste of the octopus and the flavour of the sea.The flavour of the rice comes from the water the octopus was cooked in  and the water it releases during cooking, giving the rice a very meaty flavour and a lovely hue of pink.
The secret:
Even after you have rinsed and washed the octopus it can still secrete grit in its tentacles which will be released in the cooking so be sure to strain the stock before using it. Go easy on the chilli flakes.Serve small portions it is very filling.

Arroz de Polvo Malandrinho
This particular style of octopus rice is called malandrinho which means the rice is supposed to be solto (loose), so at the end of the finished dish you don’t want all of the liquid to be absorbed by the rice but neither do you want to be eating soup with bits of rice.
Serves 3
1 raw octopus,around 900g /2lb
I bottle white wine
1/2 cup /50g black peppercorns
1 tablespoon tomato puree

zest of 1 orange
Heat a large pan with a little oil.Bring it to smoking point,then sear the octopus on both sides until it turns a rich red color.Once red on both sides,add the wine,peppercorns,tomato paste and orange zest.Braise until tender,about one hour. Allow the octopus to cool fully.Slice into pieces.

Reserved stock from cooking octopus
1 tbsp of olive oil 

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium size onion chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
large handful of coriander stalks chopped finely
1 fat garlic clove, chopped finely
1 heaped cup  of white malandrinho rice
3 – 3 1/2 cups of the reserved octopus stock
1/2 – 1 tsp of Flor de sal, check if the stock water is salty (start with half teaspoon, after first few minutes you can taste it and be able to tell if it needs a touch more)
pinch of  chili flakes

300g of cooked prawns(optional)
Add the butter and oil to the pan along with the onion and coriander and let the onions cook on a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes until they soften, appear translucent and not burnt.

Add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the rice,stir well to mix and cook until the rice is well coated and glistening.

re-heat the octopus stock in a milk pan and keep on a low heat. 
Proceed as if you were cooking a risotto, adding ladlefuls of the stock at a time and constantly stir the rice,for about 20-25 minutes
When the rice is a few minutes away from being ready add the sliced octopus and prawns if using, stir it in and cook until the rice is on the verge of being done. Serve in soup plates and garnish with parsley or coriander.


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