In New Caledonia, I made this with a local yam, but you can use sweet potato instead.
This is a wonderful way of cooking larger octopus, as it becomes so tender. Serve with crusty baguette for mopping up the sauce!
- 1 kg whole octopus, cleaned and cut into 4 cm x 1.5 cm pieces, tentacles cut in half
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 20 g butter
- 3 French shallots, finely chopped
- 2 chillies, finely chopped (see Note)
- 2 cm piece ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium inyam or sweet potato, diced into 2 cm cubes
- A splash of cognac
- 185 ml white wine
- 3 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 parsley sprigs, finely chopped (you could use thyme instead)
- Chopped chives, to garnish
- Baguette, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Poach the octopus in water for 30-40 minutes (see note). Drain.
2. Heat a large frying pan over low. Add 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the butter, shallots, chilli, ginger and garlic and sauté until golden. Add the octopus and yam / sweet potato, and season generously with salt.
3. Pour in the cognac and white wine, stir, and bring to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes, or until reduced by half. Stir in the tomato, bay leaves and parsley. Turn the heat down to low, place a lid on top and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes, or until the octopus is soft. Sprinkle with chives and serve with bread.
• Include the seeds from the chillies if you like the heat.
• To test if the octopus is cooked, see if the skin will come away easily. (This is just to test; as this is going into a stew, there’s no need to skin the octopus.)