Each month someone hosts the challenge by picking a recipe and posting it in the super secret forums of the Daring Kitchen website. This was my first attempt.
This month's challenge was hosted by Olga from Olga's Recipes (English) and las casas de olga (Spanish). She chose a Spanish recipe: Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish, and artichokes by Jose Andres. You can see how he makes the dish on this YouTube video.
While I was reading through the recipe I started getting nervous. For starters, I didn't even know what a cuttlefish was! I looked it up and decided it was going to be rather hard to come by so I started looking for alternatives. Olga mentioned using squid, shrimp, chicken, or vegetables instead. I couldn't make myself be daring enough to get a fresh squid and had settled on shrimp when I found a frozen zeevruchten mix that consisted of mussels, shrimps, octopus, clams, and surimi. I also decided to toss some chorizo in to give it a little extra zing.
You can see the original recipe on Olga's blog. I'll share my version with you here! We'll start with the sofregit and allioli recipes first.
Sofregit is a well cooked and fragrant sauce made with olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and onions and oftentimes has other vegetables such as bell peppers and mushrooms.
You will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used red)
4 or 5 garlic cloves, chooped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 small can (70 g) tomato paste*
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
sprinkle of cumin
sprinkle of oregano
Put all ingredients together into a high sided frying pan and saute slowly until all vegetables are soft. Salt to taste. I let this simmer about an hour and a half just so everything could blend and be fabulous.
*Tomato paste is optional. I only had 3 really good tomatoes and the rest were a little meh, so I added the tomato paste to give it a little more flavor.
This makes a lot more than you'll need for the rice recipe, but it's fantastic sauce and should freeze well to use for pasta and other dishes later on.
Allioli is a sauce made from garlic and olive oil. The traditional method involves making a paste from the garlic with a mortar and pestle and slowly adding oil until you get a nice thick paste. This was what I did, but I didn't yield much and think I should've added quite a lot more oil.
You will need:
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Pinch of salt
Few drops of lemon juice
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.
A little of this goes a long way, but it really really compliments the flavors of the rice.
You will need:
Glug or two of olive oil
1 can artichoke hearts, cut into eighths
12 mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
125 ml white wine
150 g zeevruchten mix (seafood mix- cooked)
75 g chopped and fried Spanish chorizo
Sofregit- see recipe below
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups fish stock (I used fish bullion and water)
Pinch saffron powder (turmeric can also be used)
Allioli- see recipe below
Heat a glug or two of olive oil in your pan.
When warm, add the artichokes, mushrooms and bay leaf.
Saute until the artichokes are a golden color, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the wine and mix.
Add 3 or 4 tablespoons sofregit and mix well.
Pour in the fish stock and bring to a boil.
Add the rice and boil under a high heat for 5 minutes.
Add the saffron, seafood and chorizo and stir slightly.
Turn down the heat and boil for another 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit for a couple of minutes before serving with the allioli.