Growing up my mum usually made rabbit stifado - something I didn't particularly like because mum used to breed rabbits and I couldn't fathom the thought of eating them. As I grew up, I came around and eventually became one of my favourite meals. During lent, mum would make stifado using octopus (when allowed, because even during lent there are certain days/weeks you couldn't even eat seafood. It was pure vegan diet). This version was to become my all time favourite. You can also make it using beef and thats probably my least favourite.
Its a pretty straight forward recipe - basically once you start to tenderise the octopus, its a matter of putting everything together and letting it cook.
1 large octopus (approx 2.5-3kg cleaned)
6 large brown onions
3 bay leaves
2 cups red wine
¾ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic finally chopped
1 heaped teaspoon oregano
2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1. Place cleaned octopus in a big heavy based saucepan with ½ glass of water. Cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes - this will tenderise the octopus. It will cook further once all ingredients are added. Once its ready, remove from saucepan, cut each tentacle off and then cut each tentacle into bite size pieces. Discard water. Set aside.
2. Whilst the octopus is cooking, peel and slice onions into slithers. Using the same saucepan you partially cooked the octopus, add the olive oil and sauce the onions. This could take 10-15 minutes as there are a lot of onions.
3. Once the onions are done, return the cut octopus back into the pot and add all you other ingredients. Stir and see if you need to top up with a glass of water - it usually requires a little extra water.
4. Cover the saucepan and allow to cook on medium heat for about 50 minutes. Check to see if octopus is tender - if not allow to cook for a further 15 minutes and check again.