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Harrisa braised squid with saffron chickpeas, burnt lemon & garlic toast- with Bob Andrew

There are only 2 ways to cook squid, very fast or very slow; anywhere in the middle and you get the rubberband texture that puts many people off for life. A gentle but lengthy putter in a pan, combined with the acidity of the tomatoes, helps to tenderise it perfectly. You can save a few of the squid to deep-fry as a garnish at the end, the option is yours and depends on how confident you feel playing with a pan of hot oil.  In both cases, make sure you use the tentacles, they may look a bit sinister and sci-fi but are as equally delectable as the white flesh, if not more so.

This stew is easily added to. A little fried chorizo never goes amiss, or you can ramp it up into a full-on fish stew; simply fold some mussels and diced white fish through for the final 5 mins.

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Ingredients

Stew

olive oil
2 red onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp harrisa
2 bay leaves
4 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 large glass of white wine
16 baby squid, cleaned and sliced
200g passata
200ml fish or vegetable stock
100g black olives
2 red peppers, roasted, peeled and coarsely chopped

Braised chickpeas

2 tins chickpeas
½ tsp turmeric
pinch of saffron
1 cinnamon quill
100g maftoul(giant couscous)
handful of chopped parsley
handful of chopped dill
few leaves of chopped mint

Burnt lemons

2 lemons
1 tsp brown sugar

Garlic toast

4 slices of sourdough toast
1 garlic clove

METHOD

Stew

Warm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the red onions for 10mins, until starting to soften.
Add the garlic, paprika, harissa, bay and chopped tomatoes. Cook for a further 5 mins.
Add the white wine and allow it to reduce by half.
Stir in the squid, passata, stock and olives. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 45 mins.
Fold in the red peppers for the final 5 mins. Taste and adjust the seasoning to finish.

Braised chickpeas

While the stew cooks, tip the chickpeas into a saucepan, including all the liquid in the tins. Add the turmeric, saffron and cinnamon quill. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 20 mins.
Boil a kettle. Tip in the maftoul into the chickpeas, after they’ve had 20 mins. Top up with 400ml boiled water. Cook for a further 15 mins, until everything is tender. Add a dash more liquid if it looks like drying out.
Taste and adjust with salt and a squeeze or two of lemon juice. Stir in the parsley, dill and mint to finish.

Burnt lemons

Put a frying pan on to heat up, without any oil.
Cut the lemons in half. Rub the sugar into the cut faces until it feels mostly dissolved.
When the pan is hot, press the lemons onto it, cut-side down. Cook for 2-3 mins, or until nicely caramelized on the surface.
Pop the pan straight into the washing up so that the burnt sugar won’t cool and stick to much.

Garlic toast

Toast or griddle the bread. Split a garlic clove and rub the cut side on the bread, as if it were a grater. A quick rub will be enough to release the potency.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little flaky salt.

Fried squid (optional)

If you want to top the stew with some fried squid, you’ll need to keep 3 of the squid destined for the stew to one side. Cut open the bodies and lightly score the inside flesh with a criss-cross pattern; cut them into 3cm triangle shapes. Cut the tentacles in half, lengthways.
Zest a lemon and pinch a bit of the chopped parsley. Mix the squid with the zest, parsley and ½ tbsp of extra harissa. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat some plain oil in a saucepan to 190˚C.  Deep fry the squid for 2 mins; until lightly coloured. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve alongside the stew immediately.

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