Here's a recipe for octopus stifado...

...to remind you of all those fish mezes in Cyprus

Are you looking for a recipe for octopus?

While you don't often get octopus stew as part of a fish meze, as many people squirm when they see those tentacles grilled and served up on a meze platter, I thought this recipe would suit casserole lovers as the octopus just melts into the liquid.

Cooking with Octopus

Have you ever been brave enough to buy a fresh octopus? Have you even tasted it, perhaps as part of a fish meze?

No, Ugh! I hear you say!

Well, it's true that octopus isn't everyone's favourite dish, partly as it can be very chewy which puts most people offit for life! But a FRESH octopus, tenderised before cooking and lightly char-grilled, is soft, succulent and down-right gorgeous...well I think so anyway. It's even better washed down with a glass of ouzo on the rocks!

TIP: How do you make sure your octopus is tenderised before cooking? Well, you have to beat it up...literally! Give it a good bashing with a wooden meat tenderiser, around 100 lashes usually does the trick, and your octopus is ready for cooking.


If plain grilled octopus doesn't appeal, why not try this delicious recipe for octopus stifado? The spices and red winetenderise the flesh even more and, this recipe is very easy to make.

Octopus with red wine, onions and spices

Octopus stifado

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 1 kg/2lb octopus, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tblspn tomato puree
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1/3 glass olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tblspn black pepper corns
  • 1 tspn oregano

How to prepare it:

Heat the olive oil into a deep pan and add your octopus and garlic. Saute the octopus for about 5 minutes untilit goes pink. Pour in the wine then add the cinnamon, bay leaves, pepper corns and tomato puree.

Simmer on a VERY low heat until the octopus is tender and the sauce thickens. This can take anywhere from half an hour to over one hour, dependenton the thickness of your octopus.

When the octopus stifado is ready, sprinkle the oregano on top and servestraightaway. Serve with jacket or mashed potatoes (mashed spuds are not very cypriot but they go so well with the rich sauce). Enjoy. Mmm!

TIP: If the sauce thickens before the octopus is cooked through, add some water and keep it simmering until the sauce thickens again. NB: There is no need to add any salt as there is plenty of natural salt in the octopus.

Do try this recipe for octopus. It really is wonderful and will overcome any aversion you might have had, I promise!

Kali Orexi!






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