Hotpot of baby octopus and Manuka smoked capsicum.
In my opinion, octopus is a highly underrated seafood, and more often associated with summer salads and BBQ's. This smokey, spicy, wintery dish was created to show the versatility of octopus, and its ability to take on big, bold flavours. Baby octopus releases a lot of water when baked (and as such becomes smaller), so whilst 1kg was used in this recipe, you could quite easily add another 1kg without having to adjust any of the remaining ingredients. The key to the depth of flavor in this dish, is the hot smoking of the capsicums with Manuka wood chips. This may seem unnecessary, however the way in which the gentle smokey Manuka flavour permeates throughout the dish, makes it well worth the extra effort.
|1 large||Red capsicum, cut into approx 3cm pieces|
|1 large||Orange capsicum, cut into approx 3cm pieces|
|1 large||Green capsicum, cut into approx 3cm pieces|
|3 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 large||Carrot, diced|
|1 stalk||Celery, diced|
|1 large||Brown onion, diced|
|2 cloves||Garlic, finely chopped|
|1 tsp||Dried chilli flakes|
|1 Tbsp||Tomato paste|
|1 kg||Baby octopus|
|250 ml||Red wine|
|1 tin||Crushed tomatoes|
|1 tsp||Dried oregano|
|2 sprigs||Fresh thyme|
|200 ml||Chicken stock|
|2 tsp||Cracked black pepper|
|4 medium||Potatoes, sliced on a mandolin into slices approx 1/2cm thick|
|2 Tbsp||Melted butter|
- First you need to smoke the capsicums. Once your stove top smoker (or BBQ smoker) is producing a good amount of smoke, smoke the cubed capsicum for 10 minutes. Then remove from the smoker and set aside
- Turn the oven on to 160 degrees C
- In a large heavy pot, sautee the carrot, onion and celery in the olive oil until slightly golden, and just starting to soften
- Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds, and then stir in the chili flakes
- Add the tomato paste and fry for about a minute.
- Add the baby octopus and the red wine and cook, stirring, until the wine has come to the boil.
- Add the smoked capsicums and lightly stir
- Add the tinned crushed tomatoes, oregano, thyme and only enough stock to just cover all the ingredients.
- Season with salt and cracked black pepper and bring to the boil. Remove from the stove top.
- At this point, you can slightly thicken the sauce with 1 t-spoon of cornflour mixed with a little water if you wish, although not essential.
- Lay the sliced potatoes in a circular pattern on the top of the octopus and capsicum mix making sure that you have at least 2 layers of the potatoes. Brush with the melted butter and season well with salt and pepper.
- Cover the pot and bake in the oven until the potatoes are cooked through. This should take approximately 1 1/2 hours. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the lid and cook uncovered until the potatoes are golden and slightly crisp