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Stuffat Tal-Qarnita (Octopus Stew) #EattheWorld


Welcome to the August 2022 event of  our #EattheWorld project, being spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Here's her challenge

This month, we are sharing recipes from the island of Malta, here's the #EattheWorld line-up...


I saw this month's theme when I was on vacation in Hawaii and commented to Evelyn that I was going to re-watch a show that featured a restaurant owner in Malta. I just needed to remember what it was!

Turns out Maltese footballer Justin Haller started a restaurant and it was failing. He was featured on Restaurants on the Edge when show stars Karin Bohn, Nick Liberato, and Dennis Prescott help him revamp everything from his menu to the decor.

Halber 16 is located in the port city of Marsaxlokk whose name comes from the Arabic word marsa, meaning 'port' and xlokk, meaning 'southeast'. Inhabitants of the village are called Xlukkajri and are traditionally fisherman. The port was used by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Ancient Romans and currently hosts an enormous fish market every Sunday. Dennis Prescott wanders through the market with Denise, a fish monger, whose family operates Rita's Fresh Fresh. He walks away with anchovies and whole fish. He didn't pick up any octopus, but I was inspired to make a Maltese octopus stew for this event.

Ingredients serves 4

  • 2 pounds baby octopus
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon each thyme, mint, basil and parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Drop the baby octopus into the boiling water and remove it from the heat immediately. Let stand for 1 minute, then drain and set aside.

In an another pot, heat olive oil and add in diced onions. Cook until the onions are translucent and softened, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in the tomato sauce and red wine. Bring to a simmer and fold in the olives, capers, and lemon zest. Stir in the blanched baby octopus, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Uncover and stir in the lemon juice. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in your fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Serve immediately with crusty bread or over pasta if you prefer.

Bonus Wine Pairing

I paired this with the 2021 Las Jaras Glou Glou from Sebastopol. An eclectic blend of 50% Zinfandel, 19% Carignan, 15% Petite Syrah, 6% Mourvèdre, 6% Chardonnay, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose, the wine has layers of red fruit, tropical flowers, wet granite, and coffee grinds. On the palate, the wine is intense with even more red and black flowers and a balanced acidity that made it very food friendly. What a great wine.

That's a wrap on my Maltese offering. I can't wait to see what country Evelyne picks for us next month. Stay tuned.


  1. I like the idea of dunking bread in there instead of pasta. I might try using large octopus since those are more readily available to me than baby ones. Most times around here they have the baby octopus already marinating in some seafood salad.

  2. This sounds wonderful and the pairing sounds amazing as well.

  3. So cool about the show. Niw I want to see it. And I just adore this octopus stew!

  4. I some how never ventured to tasting octopus, but this dish definitely looks tempting!

  5. I have absolutely come to love octopus in the last few year. This looks like a fantasting way to prepare it. Thanks for the great wine pairing, too.


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