Easy & Delicious Stewed Octopus


Learning from a master.

I recently visited my family in Massachusetts and learned this recipe from an 81 year old family friend (Senhora Maria Jose). She is known for being a fabulous cook. Having grown up in a close-knit Azorean community, there was never a shortage of delicious Portuguese food. I feel honored that I had a private tutoring session in order to learn this delicious recipe. I'm sharing it with all of you because I believe good things should be spread around for all to enjoy. Thank you for reading!

C. De Melo
Author & Artist

Great video showing HOW to clean an octopus.

We cooked a big octopus, but you can do a smaller one. Simply reduce the ingredients and cooking time.

If using a frozen octopus, be sure it's fully defrosted.

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 2 hours
Ready in: 3 hours
Yields: Serves 10 people with hearty appetites


  • 8 pounds (approx. 3 kilos) Whole Octopus (Mediterranean is best), Remove eyes, mouth and ink sack. See video on how to clean octopus if you aren't sure what to do.
  • 4 large Tomatoes, Peeled, de-seeded, and chopped
  • 2 large Onions, Finely chopped
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Crushed
  • Large handful Fresh parsley, Chopped
  • 1 cup Red wine
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Paprika, Pepper (Salt- only if needed), To taste
  • 1-2 pounds Peeled baby potatoes, Soaked in water

Have ingredients ready...

  1. In a large pot, place the whole, cleaned octopus and nothing else. Turn on the stove to medium/high heat. This allows the octopus to "shrink" and lose water.
  2. Meanwhile...in a big skillet, saute garlic in olive oil. Add onion and paprika (be sure to keep an eye on the octopus in the pot, turning it on occasion). When onion is soft, add tomatoes and allow to simmer.
  3. By now, the octopus in the pot has plenty of broth. Remove about 3/4 of the broth and SET ASIDE. Continue allowing the octopus to cook in the pot for a total of about 20 minutes, making sure it doesn't stick or burn.
  4. When tomato/onion mixture in skillet is cooked, add it to the octopus in the pot. Lower heat to medium heat. Cover and allow to cook (stirring occasionally) for about an hour. You may want to cut the head from the body at this point, too.
  5. Add potatoes and maybe a bit of oil. Add pepper, wine, and parsley. If there isn't enough liquid to cook the potatoes, add the reserved broth (NEVER add water). Also, since the broth is already salty from the ocean, taste the sauce before adding any salt. Better to add it at the end.
  6. Allow to cook for another 45 minutes to an hour. When potatoes are cooked and octopus if fork tender, shut off heat and keep covered. Allow octopus to "rest" for about 30 minutes before serving. It should melt in your mouth.

Have you ever tried octopus?

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Comments 2 comments

Sam Tumblin profile image

Sam Tumblin 2 years ago from Eunice, La.

Octopus.....Hmmmm...Octopus...Hmmnm....might be delicious can it be altered with shrimp, or oysters?

REALfoodie profile image

REALfoodie 2 years ago from Florence, Italy and WORLDWIDE Author

I suppose you could, but I suggest you try the octopus...you'll be surprised. It's delicious, tender (not rubbery).

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