STUFFAT TAL-QARNIT (Octopus Stew)

Ingredients:

  • 1 octopus (600 - 800grms)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 onions,chopped
  • 10 olives
  • 2 tablespoons tomatoe pure (kunserva)
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 250ml red wine
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

This Mediterranean dish fits in perfectly with the Maltese cuisine. You should prepare the octopus stew only if you have plenty of time on your hands, since it requires long and slow simmering. The end result will be a very tender octopus in a stew which can be served as a main course or as a sauce with spaghetti or penne. A freshly baked and crispy Maltese loaf will come in handy to mop up the sauce.

Freshly caught octopus is readily available in most fish shops and open-air markets in Malta and Gozo. Very often the octopus would still be alive! If you are visiting Malta make sure you check out the Marsaxlokk Sunday open-air market, and you will find lots of freshly caught fish for sale.

1) First clean the octopus by turning the head inside out. Make sure you remove the intestines, the beak and the eyes. You can use a metal hammer to tenderise the octopus meat. Ideally you should ask the fishmonger to clean the octopus for you, if you are not familiar with how it is done.

2) Place the octopus in a pot of boiling water which has already been salted, and bring to the boil again for about 2 - 4 minutes.

3) Discard the water, and cut the octopus into 5cm slices.

4) In another pot, heat some olive oil, and fry the chopped onions and the garlic for about 5 minutes or until they become soft and golden. Add the octopus and fry gently for another 3 minutes.

5) Add the wine and bring to the boil on high heat. Stir well and cook for another 3 minutes. At this point add the chopped tomatoes, some tomato paste (kunserva), some sea salt and fresh pepper to taste and a teaspoonful of sugar. Stir well, cover the pot and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

6) Now add the olives, the capers, the mint and the parsley and leave to simmer for another 30 minutes.

7) 10 minutes before serving, uncover the pot and turn up the heat to thicken the sauce,
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