Braised Air Kraken Tentacle Suckers with Artichokes and Cinderberry Relish
½ dozen fresh(ish) small air kraken tentacle suckers cut flush, scrubbed
½ dozen baby artichokes
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped (peeled if you like, to keep the stringies out of your teeth; although that’s the least of your problems…)
1 large grimp leaf, minced (grimp can be hard to find; it grows wild in the northern limits of the Fells. Be careful harvesting as it looks just like, um… just be careful. Seriously.)
2 cups cinderberries, as clean as you can get them. Discard if oozing glowing fluid
2 tbsp wiggyfish oil
1 cup wiggyfish stock (or vegetable stock, if you’re scared/sane)
16 gal Rookswood Babbage Brown Ale
Way more assorted seasonings than you think you need. Probably 10 times as much. Maybe a bit more.
[Note: Wild cinderberry does have extra flavour, though you will need to add some soot. Wherever you get them from, WASH THEM. I won’t get into why, but you REALLY want to wash them. Like, ew.
Also, famed New Toulouse chef Julia Urchin recommends parboiling the berries in ale for making sauces, but as we will be making a relish we want to conserve as much alcohol as possible for drinking later. We’re eating kraken suckers, so we’ll really need it.
I will also add that it’s not true that I include alcohol in all my recipes this time of year because I’m some kind of lush*. It is very important to include alcohol in as many recipes as possible during and for several months after Kraken Migration. It is a well known rumour that kraken will not attack anyone with a high blood-alcohol content. As far as you know.
*Standard Disclaimer: I am not denying that I’m some kind of lush. Those who know me well know that I only drink on days of the week that end in nights. Mostly.]
Servings: none. Don’t eat this, I beg you.
Begin by building a good fire in the oven, scrubbing the suckers, removing any traces of victim blood, and heating up the wiggyfish oil to a low medium heat in a solid cast iron sauté pan or shallow iron saucepan.
Sear the suckers as much as you dare, at least until there is visible caramelization or they begin exploding, adding the vegetables halfway through, artichokes last.
Remove the suckers and set aside to rest. Now get back up and back in the kitchen; this mess isn’t going to cook itself.
Combine the stock with 1 cup of the ale in a medium saucepan on low heat, add the grimp leaf ,seasoning to ‘taste.’ You’ll probably need a lot of seasoning. Go ahead, add more. No, no, way more than that. Okay, easy, easy—don’t waste it.
Add the cinderberries and stir very carefully. Do NOT break the berries open. Don’t ask why. You don’t want to know.
Return the suckers to the iron pan face up (you’d have an awful time with an upside-down pan) setting one artichoke in the centre of each, and drizzle 1 cup of ale over the ‘meat’ before covering and placing into the oven. Try to leave it in there until you’re actually hungry enough to try to eat it. Or until you need the oven for something else.
Check it once in a while to be sure there is enough ale to keep it partly submerged. It keeps the smell down. But you know, don’t waste any. It’s good ale, come on.
Add the vegetables to the stock, and continue to reduce the mixture into a relish consistency, while adding ale to the chef as necessary. I find I use quite a bit for this recipe. What do you mean, “It shows…”?
Once cooked through, or when you can no longer stand the smell, remove the kraken and artichoke from the oven and plate each portion with a generous spoonful of the cinderberry relish on each ‘eye’ (mostly to cover it up so it doesn’t frighten the children).
Serve with alcohol (important), and keep a stretcher by the door in case that wasn’t grimp leaf.
Discard leftovers, and not near your house or anything explosive, or anyplace it can be proved you did it.
Oooh, I just *love* the POP that the suckers make when you sear them! Sometimes they’ll fly right out of the pan!
A warning to anyone who tries this recipe (I mean, in addition to all of Dee’s well-advised warnings): watch out for low-flying suckers. And wear pants.