This octopus stew recipe is popular throughout all of Catalonia, thanks to its simplicity and comforting, satisfying flavour, perfect for a cold winters day. It's important to break the potatoes apart rather than simply chopping them up, as this releases more starch into the sauce for a rich, thick finish.

Serves 4 - 6 


  • 1 large octopus, weighing approx. 2kg, defrosted (if frozen)
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp of sweet paprika
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered with the core cut out
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150ml of white wine
  • 4 large potatoes
  • Tabasco, (optional)
  • 1 handful of parsley, chopped
  • Maldon sea salt


Begin by cooking the octopus. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then carefully add the octopus with the onion and bay leaves. Simmer for 45–60 minutes, or until the octopus is tender.

Drain the octopus, reserving 1 litre of the cooking liquid.

To make the stew, heat up the oil in a large pan and gently sweat the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt until soft. Add the paprika and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.

Add the white wine and bay leaves and reduce the liquid in the pan by two-thirds. Pour in the reserved 1 litre of octopus stock and simmer for 1 hour.

Peel the potatoes and cut into them using a knife, then twist the knife to break them apart. Break into rough 3–4cm chunks and set aside (cutting and breaking them apart like this releases more starch, which helps thicken the stew).

Use scissors to cut the octopus into neat 3cm pieces.

When the stew has been cooking for an hour, add the potato and octopus pieces and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. The stew should have thickened up by this point, but you can simmer for a little longer if needed to reduce the liquid.

Taste and season the stew with salt and a few drops of Tabasco, if desired. Serve warm with chopped parsley.


Recipe and picture from Great British Chefs.