Sunday, May 20, 2012

Octopus Bourguignon

You are right, there is no such thing as Squid or Octopus Bourguignon. There is Beef Bourguignon, French dish resembling beef and root vegetables braised in red wine for a long time. Taking in attention that 1) I am a vegetarian and 2) I just discovered the fact that to get really tender octopus it has to be cooked over 40 minutes or really, really briefly... so, because all of the above, I decided that Octopus Bourguignon is the right dish to get my hands on. Actually, I just found out that there is a Greek dish - octopus slow cooked with carrot, onion and tomatoes in a red wine. Close enough to my Octopus Bourguignon!
It happened so that I cooked this dish twice. First time, being inpatient and a-bit-layzy I've made "carelessly effortless" version of it. It was good but not amazing. Then something happened that made me prepare Octopus Bourguignon again - my camera's SD card got corrupted and I lost all of my cooking pictures. This time I took a different approach and got the dish that I could call amazing! This recipe I'm describing below. So, let's dig in :)
- There is no such thing as large octopus - after cooking, small 4 inch baby-octopuses shrink into 1" tiny-tiny things, and huge (by local measures) 4 pound octopus become an orange-sized "swirl of something".

Octopus Bourguignon

30-40 small octopuses, cleaned
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1.5" half-logs

2-3 sweet onions, peeled and cut in half
1.5 cup of sweet red wine
1 cup of chicken broth
2 tbs tomato paste
.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp black pepper
3 bay leaves
1 small bunch of thyme
olive oil for frying

- Separate octopuses heads from bodies. Blot octopus heads and bodies with paper towel to get rid of extra liquid. Fry all octopuses parts in a frying pan with olive oil for a couple minutes for each side. Transfer octopuses into wide heavy pot where all together will be cooked in later on. Pour all remaining octopus juices into the pot also.

- In the same frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and cook carrots on both sides until golden brown. Transfer carrots to the pot with octopuses. Add fried ingredients to the final pot carefully and never stir or mix pot content.

- Brown onion hals in the same pan until nicely browned but not burnt. Add onions cut side up to the final pot. Place them evenly (see pictures below).

- In a small bowl, dissolve tomato paste in a warm chicken broth. Add this mix carefully to the pot.

- Add wine to the pot also.

- Add salt, pepper, bay leaves and place bunch of thyme on a top of all other ingredients in a pot. Do not spread thyme out - it will be easier to remove it after cooking is done.

- Place pot on heat and bring it to a boil. Turn heat to very low and simmer with lid ajar for about hour and a half. Make sure that it's simmering indeed and carefully shake whole pot to swirl ingredients 2-3 time during whole cooking process. If you will taste sauce in a beginning of simmering you may be shocked how intense and over-powering it is - no worries, later on it will soften while vegetables, octopus will exchange thier flavors.

- When done, enjoy Octopus Bourguignon in a pair with mashed potato - I've got most of fun from eating onions, carrots and especially sauce with potato mash - it was heavenly good.

In a "final" pot, with own juice, awaiting when other ingredients arrive (I must be crazy - I would hang this picture as a piece of art :))

One by one, carrots and onions have joined.

Sweet wines can be nice too - I really like this one. I used it in here, for Octopus Bourguignon.

Tomato paste mixed with chicken broth.

Everything is in and ready to go.

In hour and a half..Ready!

On a top of mashed potato - mmmmnyam

Next day I enjoyed my octopuses with one of my favorite side dishes - buckwheats.

The most fun (taste-wise also!) I had eating onion disassembling it layer by layer (I think it's important to use sweet onion and sweet red wine in this recipe - just my observation).

Blog-checking lines: Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.


  1. Oh, your octopus bourguignon is so creative and looks very yummy. ;)

    1. Thank you! My favorite part was onion. I'm thinking about constructing similar dish but with onions as centerpiece, probably just by changing ingredients ratios...Or may be it's just time to tackle french onion soup I never made before :)


I would love to hear from you!