Friday, August 14, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge – Rice with Mushrooms, (Not) Cuttlefish, and Artichokes

The August Challenge was hosted 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.

The recommended nonfish version was to substitute potatoes. The only problem I had with using potatoes is that they starch-gooed my mushrooms. Lesson learned – don’t cook potatoes and mushrooms together! Otherwise, this is a fantastic, easy, vegan, gluten free recipe.

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

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 (per Olga’s recommendation, I used 1 pound red potatoes)
“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) I could not find either of the Spanish rices, so I used Arborio.
Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice) I used vegan veggie stock.
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)

Here is my mise en place.

1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips. I cubed my potatoes.
2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish (potatoes) in the pan.
3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean them. Cut artichokes in eights.
I presumed she meant the hearts only!
4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish (potatoes) and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit. This sofregit is amazingly wonderful delicious and I added about 5 tablespoons!
9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
11. 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.
12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
Arborio takes about 17 minutes total.
13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

And after a few minutes I had a beautiful pan of what I called Vegan Paella.

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)

You really and truly must make this sofregit. You could put it on pasta or baked potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, or use it for bruschetta. I made a half recipe and had plenty left over to serve on the side.

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) I did use this.
· 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
· 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional) I did use these.
· 1 Bay leaf
· Salt
· 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!)

I threw it all in the pan.

And cooked it down to this – so yummy!

Allioli is served together with the rice and it gives a very nice taste.
Allioli (Traditional recipe)
Prep 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)
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.

Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.

I’m sure you guys know I didn’t spend 20 minutes on a couple of tablespoons of sauce. I tried, and I enjoyed the workout for about 8 minutes. This is very very garlicky. I love garlic, but extra oily sauce is not really my thing.

I served the dish with sauces on the side, and some fresh green beans and a hearty roll. (and also some peppadews, but I forgot to plate them)

Another fun challenge that was easy to veganize and naturally gluten free!


Hannah said...

Ah, I was wondering what might take the place of cuttlefish! Even if it wasn't perfect, it still sounds so much better than the original (cuttlefish... Bleh!). Nice work!

miss v said...

dude. cuttlefish?! never had it. but yum... and paella.

Andrea said...

This looks really great. I'll take potatoes over cuttlefish any day.

Anonymous said...

Ugh cuttlefish. The dish looks amazing. I have used tofu in the past to substitute for fish. Potatoes sound genius in place of the fish.

Anonymous said...

Ugh cuttlefish. The dish looks amazing. I have used tofu in the past to substitute for fish. Potatoes sound genius in place of the fish.

Amey said...

nice work! that looks like something musty would LOVE. I'll give it a try. Also, that soffregit looks amazing. I have so many tomatoes outside on my plants, I don't know what to do... so I'm happy to see a recipe that calls for "5 big tomatoes" !


Carrie™ said...

I wish I liked mushrooms. This looks really, really yummy!

Sindy said...

I would have thought that mushrooms would be a good substitute for cuttlefish...? Looks delish!

Audax said...

Wonderful that you did a vegan version and it looks smashing. Bravo and love the pixs. Cheers from Audax in Australia

Anonymous said...

Wonderful job! I didn't get to participate this month, but I know I would just love it!

Amey said...

I am just getting started on a big double batch of the sofregit right now. I'm going to mix it up with some cooked lentils and pearl barley. Maybe some corn too. For a fresh summery salad. I'll let you know how it turns out!


jessy said...

wow, Diann! your vegan paella, sofregit, and allioli all look most stellar! what a fun challenge! the potatoes for the cuttlefish sounds great, and i love that the dish is gluten-free - that rocks! i hear ya on not wanting to spend 20 minutes making that allioli - i would have done the same as you. thanks for the tip on not cooking mushies 'n potatoes together. i didn't know that & i'm glad i do now!

stay cool & i hope you're having a great weekend!

The Voracious Vegan said...

This is such a great challenge! Very clever to sub the potatoes for cuttlefish. The final result looks so incredible, wish I could have a taste!

Erin said...

Wow! I couldn't really envision the dish based on the description, but it really came together! The cooked tomato sauce sounds delicious too.

Mihl said...

This sounds lke a really delicious challenge! I can imagine that all those flavours must have been great together. And your presentation is beautiful.

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

That vegan paella sure looks good!

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