Daring Cooks’ Challenge: Rice with Mushrooms,Cuttlefish and Artichokes

This is my first challenge for the Daring Cooks, the host this month is Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes. She chose a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment.

I was a bit apprehensive at this challenge, I thought it was paella or arroz, I have never tried making any of those before, but this isn’t really paella, it’s more of a spanish version of risotto.

This is exactly why I joined the group so I can make dishes that will put my culinary skill to the test. Olga, this month’s host and Audax Artifex provided so much info and support on how you can make this dish happen even if you have issues like allergy, unavailability of ingredients etc.. they covered it all and that’s why in spite of my many shortcomings here, I was able to come up with this  great dish (after some substitutions):

Rice with Mushroom, Fish and Asparagus

We love it, even the kids except for the garlic paste, even for me, it’s quite strong. It’s the first time for the kids to have something like this for dinner and they were looking at their plates suspiciously especially my tot, I told them we’re dining Spanish style and that there’s nothing in the dish that they have not tried before and did not like, it’s just cooked in a different way.

After hesistantly tasting it, they finished off their plates, my husband ate the most of it, 3 servings;  and he had the leftover for midnight snack, he really likes the allioli. As for me, I found this dish very filling, I usually eat 2-3 servings of rice but with this one I ate only half of what I used to cause I already felt full. I have to go over to the daring cooks forum after this post and thank Olga for choosing this great dish for our challenge.

Here’s a rundown of my daring cooks’ challenge:

sofrito1

The sofrito, sofregit can you tell that it’s missing something? I forgot the onions, couldn’t believe it myself, I ran out of onions.  I added 3 red chili peppers to add zing to my sofregit, we like our food hot. It seemed too little because I halved the recipe, it was just enough for the whole dish.

fish_asparagus_mushrooms

sauteeing the cuttlefish, mushrooms and artichokes asparagus

I used sole fish fillet to replace the cuttlefish because as I have mentioned in the past, my husband doesn’t eat seafoods except for fish and I also couldn’t find artichokes and I just followed Olga’s suggestion to replace it with other vegetables like okra, peas or asparagus, I chose the latter because I like it’s nutty taste.

I was hesistant to do the allioli at first but since I have already replaced most of the ingredients I thought I should do this to keep up with the theme. My husband liked it a lot and said that it’s better than the garlic supplement he’s taking. As for me, it’s too strong for my taste ( I used the excess in making pesto).

rice_with_mushrooms_fish_and_asparagus_1

adding in the rice..

what else?!.. oh, I used beer instead of wine (don’t have it either at the time, darn)

That’s it! I think I covered it all.

rice_with_mushrooms_fish_and_asparagus_2

now, one more time for the camera… cheers!

I am looking forward to my next Daring Cooks’ Challenge!.

The Recipes:

RICE with MUSHROOMS, CUTTLEFISH & ARTICHOKES

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Equipment:
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) –I used sole fish fillet
“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)
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

Directions:

Cut the cuttlefish (or in my case, fish fillet) 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 and 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 pan 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 times different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)-

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

Ingredients:
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
Directions:

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, it 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)

Directions:
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.

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Read through the recipes over and over until you can get a clear picture of the cooking process in your head and hopefully you will not forget anything just like I did. It just occured to me now that I also forgot to put in the bay leaves (I have plenty of them and they’re near my stove top, arrgh)

Happy Cooking!

Olive

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