Octopus in Ranchero Sauce

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READY IN: 3hrs
Recipe by Zeke Koch

This recipe is adapted from the wonderful "Cuisine of the Water Gods" which is sadly out of print. It's hands down my favorite octopus recipe. It seems like a lot of work the first time you make it, but trust me, this will blow your mind. Even the most squeamish folks I know love it.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. First roast 2 medium onion and 2 heads garlic in the oven (at 425 for 20 minutes or so until they start to caramelize). Alternately you can pan roast them in a cast iron skillet.
  2. In a large pot place roasted onion and garlic, octopus, 2 bunches parsley & cilantro, peppercorns, 4 serrano chiles (whole), 16 cups water and beer.
  3. Boil for 1 1/2 to two hours.
  4. Remove from heat and let the octopus cool in the liquid while you start the ranchero sauce.
  5. Bring 6 cups of water to boil with 16 plum tomatoes, 14 serranos, 1 1/2 sliced tomatoes and 6 cloves of garlic and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Strain out the solids (saving the Ranchero broth), puree the solids in a blender or Cuisinart with 1 1/2 cups or the retained broth.
  7. Now, heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a tall thick pot and add 6 cloves of garlic. Simmer the garlic until it turns golden, remove them with a slotted spoon and carefully pour in the Ranchero sauce. This will cause splattering so I strongly encourage long sleeves. Stir like mad for the first few minutes until it's a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Now strain the liquid from the simmered octopus and in a separate pan cook down to 3 cups. This should take about 30 minutes. Meanwhile separate the octopus from the veggies and toss the veggies.
  9. While the ranchero sauce and octopus are simmering down take the final 6 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of cilantro and salt and either in a pestle or a blender puree into a smooth paste.
  10. Add the paste, octopus and reduced octopus stock to the ranchero sauce and cook for a final 20 minutes.
  11. I sometimes split this recipe over two days (make the octopus one night and the ranchero the next).

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