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Octopus with onions stew


This octopus with onion stew is a delicacy in the Mediterranean Greek cuisine. Its superb flavor and unique texture make this recipe stand out.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Greek, Mediterranean
Servings 4


  • 1 2.2 pounds (1 kg) octopus, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ (50ml) olive oil
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 pound (500g) whole baby shallot onions, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon grape or white vinegar
  • 1 tomato or 1 cup (200g) passata
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 10 whole allspice berries
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper


  • If frozen, let the octopus thaw overnight. 
  • Rinse the octopus well under running water to clean well the tentacles and the sac (inside and out). The sac should be empty, eyes and beak removed.*
  • Use a kitchen hammer (or other heavy kitchen cookware) to tenderize the octopus, if octopus is over 2 pounds (1kg).
  • In a large pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the octopus and simmer for 20minutes.
  • Meanwhile, boil water in another pan, remove from heat and put the baby shallot onions in to soften for half an hour. Peel them carefully.
  • Remove the octopus from the pan. Cut the tentacles at the joints and the sac into 2-4 pieces. Let aside in a bowl.
  • Strain the broth and keep 3 cups.
  • Use the same large pan (cleaned) and add the olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes, add the octopus and sauté for another 5 minutes and finally the shallot onions for another 2 minutes. Pour the broth, allspice berries, bay leaves and pepper. No salt.  
  • Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Check the tentacles and if they are tender enough to be easily pierced with the point of a knife, remove the octopus from the pan. Don’t overcook it. * 
  • Add the vinegar, the tomato (or passata) and the tomato paste (optional). Simmer for another 10-15 minutes until the shallots onions are tender to taste and the sauce is thick. Remove from heat and add the octopus.


  1. How to clean an octopus. Watch this video
  2. Cooking time may be considerably less for smaller octopus and twice as long for larger, tougher ones.
Keyword Octopus and onion stew