Welcome to the new Kali Orexi! I made some changes to my site and hope you find them agreeable. Any comments or suggestions that you think may provide some improvement are, of course, welcome. But I hope you enjoy it as is! I set out to make a few simple changes. “What could be so difficult?” I thought. Well, small changes or large, creating a new site is a feat indeed. I’m sure there will be some tweaking and some updating along the way, but for now here it is …
And to help unveil my new site, I’m offering you a new recipe: Octopus Pot Pies. Octopus is a big part of the Greek island diet. On the island of Kalymnos, from which my family is from, it is a major part and can be found either made into octopus balls/croquettes, simply grilled or cooked in wine. One key difference between the octopus found in Kalymnos and that found sold here is the custom of drying the octopus in the sun prior to using it and therefore creating a very distinct flavor. I won’t be putting out octopus to dry in the yard anytime soon, so I can’t really get that flavor here in NYC …
Regardless, I can still enjoy octopus and this dish is a great way to do just that. Wanting to create a comforting, warming dish I combined some distinctly Greek flavors with the soul-satisfying idea of pot pies. I sauteed the octopus in some olive oil along with some squid, a bit of onion, garlic and some chopped carrots then simmered it in red wine and chopped tomatoes accented with Greek bay leaves for additional depth of flavor.
Making this dish even heartier were some cubed red skinned potatoes which simmered in the flavorful sauce as well. Before dividing the mixture among individual dishes, I stirred in some Greek trahana (a sour pasta of sorts) to thicken it just a bit, then topped each dish with a round of puff pastry and baked the pot pies until the mixture was bubbly (and preferably “oozing” ) beneath the golden pastry.
Octopus Pot Pies
(Makes 8 to 10 small pot pies)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 octopus (1.25 lbs), cut into large chunks
4 squid, cleaned and cut into thin rings
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small carrots, diced
2 bay leaves
Pinch of Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 to 3/4 cup red wine
2/3 cup tomatoes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into a 3/4-inch dice
1/3 cup trahanas
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Puff pastry (if using frozen, thaw per package directions before use)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the octopus. Cook for a minute, stirring, then add the squid, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and Aleppo pepper and cook for a minute more. Add the wine and bring to a boil; then stir in the tomatoes; season with salt; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Place the potatoes in the skillet, cover and cook for about 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove octopus from burner, stir in the trahana and then divide the mixture amongst individual ramekins (or one large baking dish). Sprinkle with parsley and cover with a round of puff pastry; pressing the pastry against the rim of the dish to seal the pies. Cut an X into the center of the puff pastry; place on a baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes until the pastry is golden and the mixture is bubbly. Serve immediately.