900g octopus, cleaned and blanched
1 tbsp oil and 30g butter
3 red onions, peeled cut into thick wedges
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 sprig of rosemary
300ml shellfish stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp aioli OR crème fraiche
Preheat the oven to 325C/gas mark 3. Heat the oil and butter together in a large ovenproof casserole. When the butter is foaming, brown the octopus pieces – a few at a time. Lift onto a plate and set aside.
Add the red onions to the casserole and cook over a medium heat until beginning to brown. Add the sugar, garlic and balsamic vinegar; stir over a high heat for 1-2 minutes.
Replace the octopus and add the rosemary and Rioja. Simmer for 1-2 minutes then add the shellfish stock. Bring to the boil season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and cook in the oven for 11/2 – 2 hours or until the octopus is completely tender.
When the octopus is cooked, lift onto a plate with a slotted spoon. Bring the cooking juices to boil and allow to simmer to a syrupy consistency. Replace the octopus and adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon the aioli OR crème fraiche over the top and serve straight from the casserole.