Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes – a Daring Cooks challenge
Spanish Rice dish with killer allioli in the background, killer.
The great thing about The Daring Kitchen is that it pushes you out of your comfort zone, you are forced to make something different, unusual and prescribed by someone else. Hell its kind of like TAFE except there is no teacher Chef there to guide you, to tell you to add more olive oil to your allioli or else your lunch will keep those pesky vampires away for at least a week. With Daring cooks you are almost on your own. And I like that, except for the intensely garlic’ed allioli experience, that is.
This months challenge was Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes, a dish that I would previously have overlooked because I don’t own any fancy equipment, like a paella pan. Now, I surely wasn’t going to go and buy a silly pan just for this challenge (and especially not considering my soon-to-unfold plans, more on that later), so I made do with my trusty frying pan, and it worked well enough. So the moral of this story is threefold:
- accept challenges, you might learn something,
- so much stuff is unnecessary,
- put more olive oil than you think necessary in your hand made allioli (or less garlic).
This dish is an interesting tumble of different flavours and textures, softly puffed rice, rich with complex vegetal, fishy flavours, slightly chewy cuttlefish, yielding earthy mushrooms. Just be sure not to overwhelm its subtlety with garlic crazed allioli. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes
Recipe by José Andrés
4 Artichokes (I used a jar), cut into quarters or eighths.
12 Mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 or 2 Bay leaves
1 glass of white wine
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) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.
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) – optiona
Cut the cuttlefish in to small pieces. Fry in a few tablespoons of oil in your pan. Add the bay leaf, mushrooms and artichokes, and saute until golden. Deglaze your pan with the wine, carefully scraping all the deliciousness from the bottom of the pan. Add a whole pile of the sofregit (hell just use all of it, I did!) and let bubble away for a few minutes. Add the liquid, bring to the boil and then add the rice and boil for about 5 minutes.
Add the saffron, stir the mixture, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the rice is cooked (the original recipe said 8 mins but what the hell? Mine took at least another 20 – 25 mins for the rice to be just al-dente). When rice is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and let rice stand for a few minutes.
(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)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 green capsicum, chopped (optional) (I used a red capsicum because they’re so much tastier!)
4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup of button mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 Bay leaf
Touch of ground cumin
Touch of dried oregano
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!)
Can I say it one more time? Add more oil than you think necessary, my allioli was way too intense
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Pinch of salt
Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)
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.