Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Winning Recipe with the Daring Cooks:)

Well it was another seafood recipe for the Daring Cooks Challenge this month. This time the dish was Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes. After last month's boldness in trying the Skate With Powders Recipe....even I was a little squeamish. Although my family is a huge fan of calamari....I am not certain how they would receive a non calamari version. So rather than rock the boat too much I opted to substitute with shrimp. The recipe was along the lines of a Paella with fish stock, artichokes (yum), mushrooms and it required you to first slow fry up a batch of Sofregit. The Sofregit was a little time consuming, but not much work other than a bit of chopping. I made a half batch of Sofregit as that was more than enough for the recipe. When I measured out 3 generous tbsp of Sofregit to add to the dish......there were only 2 more generous spoonfuls I added them all. It was delicious! Definitely a keeper and worthy of making for company. It really comes together quickly (especially if you make the sofregit and allioli ahead of time) so it would be a perfect meal to make when your guests have already arrived and you are plying them with liquor/wine. Oh and since I made mine with a 300g package of shrimp, I removed them to a side dish after they changed colour and added them back into the rice in the last 2 minutes to they wouldn't get tough. OGM...they were good. Recipe serves (with 2 cups rice) 4 very hungry adults as a main with possible left overs.

There was also the requirement to make some allioli to accompany the meal. I started to make the traditional version......but I think I added too much oil and made it too runny. So I then made the modern mayo type version which is easy peasy with a hand blender. My husband quite enjoyed the addition of the mayo version as an accompaniment to the dish.......and although the traditional allioli was a bit runny it tasted perfectly delicious with it as well. No point in wasting it! Probably would have helped to have a mortar and pestle:)

Without too much more is the hosts introduction to the challenge:

Hi all, this is Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes and I’m pleased to be your host at August Daring Cooks Challenge. I’ve chosen a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment.

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

  • 1 Chopping Board
  • 1 knife
  • 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)
  • 1 Saucepan

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


  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.
  4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
  5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish 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.
  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”)
  13. 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
  • 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!)

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)


  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.
Olga’s Tips:
(1) In Spain, rice is not stired as often as it is when cooking Italian risotto. You must stir it once or twice maximum. This tip is valid for all Spanish rice dishes like paella, arròs negre, arròs a banda…
(2) When cooking the alternative style you can change the cuttlefish or squid for diced potato.
(3) If you can’t find cuttlefish or squid, or you’re not able to eat them because of allergies, you can try to substitute them for chicken or vegetables at your choice.
(4) Sofregit can be done in advance. You can keep it in the fridge or even freeze it.
(5) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video
(6) To watch how Jose Andres cooks this dish click here.
(7) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video
(8) To tone down the taste when you do it by hand in a mortar, then add an egg yolk. If you want to tone it down in the alternative way use milk or soy milk. Anyway, the best alternative way is the original oil and garlic alone.
(9) Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.
(10) For help on conversion on metric to imperial, visit this page.


Olga said...

Your final dish looks great! I thought it was strange that we only need 3 tablespoons of sofregit: it was the best part :)

Margie said...

Your rice looks delicious with the shrimp. And I love that plate! Your modern allioli looks so creamy, I'll have to give it a try.

Lori said...

This looks great. I wish I had done this challenge but I just can not get excited about cooking lately. Unless it is a throw together meal ... I am just, I guess too hot.

LittleRed said...

We loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again. Hopefully I can convince the family to give it a try with squid....I think it would be good too. Once I get a mortar and pestle....I'd like to give the traditional allioli another try too.

Jeannie said...

That looks great :)

Squinky and Pink said...

that looks so good! I just ate but those prawns are making my mouth water :P

The Woman said...

Mmmmm this looks super!

Marisa (aka Lennongirl) via Swap-bot

LittleRed said...

thanks, we really did love this one....hard to capture the flavour in a photo though:)