Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes

This month's Daring Cooks challenge hosted by Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes is Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes.

I have tried to make paella a few times before but could never duplicate that incredible flavor that somehow makes Spanish paella oh-so-good. While this is not traditional paella, its flavors reminded me of all those wonderful meals years ago. I could not have enough and quite possibly could finish the entire pan all by myself. But my family enjoyed it as much as I did.

I could not find cuttlefish when I decided to make the dish, so I used a frozen mix of seafood instead. And I was not disappointed-- mussels, octopus, shrimp, calamari, and clams made this dish so flavorful. My family is not a big fan of garlic, so I opted to skip the Allioli. I have also discovered something new for myself -- Sogregit! I love that stuff! Not only it adds all that rich flavor to the rice, it makes one fantastic pasta sauce! :)

I cannot thank Olga enough for a fantastic meal that brought back all those wonderful memories.

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 (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 timesdifferent vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)-
Cooking time: aprox. 1 hourIngredients:
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.Ingredients:
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.
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.


  1. So nice to hear that this dish brought back so many happy memories for you. Love you pixs very clear and show the process well. Yes this is one delicious dish and it is a keeper. Cheers from Audax in Australia

  2. Your right about the sofregit. I added some garlic to it and some fresh basil. Yummo on pasta. Nice work. See you next month.