Friday, January 17, 2014

Squid and Chickpea Stew

Battered and deep-fried is how most Americans first encounter squid, and that's a shame. Squid can be so much more than a vehicle for batter. No, it does not taste like chicken. If that's the most important quality for you in proteins, you might not get along with squid. It has its own unique flavor that is slightly sweet. Cooking squid takes surprising no skill as long as you understand a simple principle: it can either be cooked in 30 seconds or 2 hours. The 30 second method is lovely on tiny baby squid, but that's rarely what you'll get in the US. That's where the 2 hour method comes in. It can turn any squid meltingly tender and produce a sauce so rich, you'd think there was a pig's foot involved.

You can make this recipe in a large heavy oven safe pot, like a dutch oven, or in a pressure cooker. If using a pot, preheat the oven to 250F.

Cook 1 large diced onion in 2 Tbsp olive oil with a generous pinch of salt on med-low heat stirring occasionally until soft and golden (8-10 minutes).

Add 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp fresh minced thyme and and cook stirring until aromatic, about 1 minute.
Add 28 oz canned diced tomatoes and 1/2 cup dry white wine.

Cook over high heat until the sauce thickens, 10-20 minutes.
Measure 1/4 tsp saffron threads.
Crumble saffron and add 1 Tbsp of water.  Add to the pot with tomatoes.
Measure 1 tsp pimenton (Spanish Smoked Paprika) and add to the pot with tomatoes.

Add 3 cups cooked chickpeas and 1.5 cup their cooking liquid.  You can use canned chickpeas that are drained plus 1.5 cups water (not liquid from the can).
Cut 3/4 Lb squid hoods into 1/2 inch rings.
Prepare 3/4 Lb squid tentacles by cutting very long tentacles into 3 inch long pieces and split big tentacles pieces in half.
Add the squid and 1 bay leaf to the pot and stir well. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pot. Place in the oven for 2 hours if using a dutch oven. Or bring to high pressure (15 psi) in a pressure cooker, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Take pressure cooker off heat and let sit for exactly 10 minutes. Release steam and open. The squid should be very tender. The dish can be made up to this point a day or two ahead and then reheated over medium-low heat. Before serving, warm up, take off heat, and stir in 3 Tbsp butter.
To make the garlic herb topping, use a microplane zester to zest 1 lemon and grate 1 garlic clove.  Squeeze 1/2 tsp lemon juice.  Mince parsley and mint (you should have about 2 Tbsp of each).
In a small bowl, combine lemon zest, juice, garlic, parsley, mint, 1 tsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.

Toast bread in a skillet with olive oil or butter, then rub with a whole garlic clove all over.
Serve the squid stew in bowls, sprinkled with herb topping, drizzled with olive oil and accompanied by garlic toast.


Kake said...

Ooh, this looks great. I do a similar thing with octopus and red wine.

Helen said...

Octopus and red wine sound awesome. Do you buy yours frozen? After braising it, do you scrape the gelatinous layer off? I can never get it to taste good on octopus after long cooking. Not sure if it's because I can only buy it frozen or if it always behaves like this.

Kake said...

I do buy it frozen. I scrape off as much of the skin as possible before I cook it, which is a bit tedious on the leg parts but I find it's a little easier if I let them sit in boiling water for two minutes beforehand.

I still haven't got the texture quite the way I like it though. I've mastered the squid version through lots of trial and error, but I'm still working on the octopus!

Helen said...

I finally got to the point that I can make very good octopus, but it's not nearly as great as what I had in Spain :( Buying it is hard too. I can get decent squid in many places, but I only found 1 fish market in Boston so far where the octopus is good.

Unknown said...

Helen, where would you recommend buying squids in Boston?
Thank you,

Katya Iv.

Helen said...

The closest for you is the New Deal Fish Market in Cambridge. Whole Foods has them too. I wouldn't recommend buying them in regular stores. They sit defrosted too long and get stinky.