Polvo Lagareiro

I have been cooking octopus for a while but I never tried making the Portuguese version called polvo lagareiro. The standard recipe is pretty basic but I’ll just stick to the version I concocted. This took me about 2 hours from start to finish.


  1. 4 lbs octopus (usually about two octopuses)
  2. 4 cups of EVO
  3. 2 cups of chardonnay
  4. Bunch of cilantro
  5. 6 bay leaves
  6. Potatoes
  7. 3 large garlic cloves
  8. 4 large heirloom tomatoes
  9. Optional feta cheese


  1. Dutch oven
  2. Actual oven
  3. Tongs
  4. Large pan

Step 0

Take a couple of swigs of that wine to make sure it is OK :-)

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 325F.

Clean the octopus. Make sure you remove the beak and eyes. I actually decided to just cut off the eyes/brain portion entirely because I didn’t want to chance getting it in the dish (my chickens loved it!). Separate tentacles at the base from the head pouch. Drop all these bits into a large Dutch oven.

Add the following ingredients to the pan:

  1. 4 lbs octopus
  2. 4 cups of EVO
  3. 2 cups of chardonnay
  4. Bunch of cilantro
  5. 6 bay leaves

Give it a good stir.

All ingredients in Dutch oven

I didn’t add any salt at this point but some people do. Also don’t be afraid to add more wine or less EVO; the proportions aren’t very critical.

Foil the top of the Dutch oven and put it in the oven. Set the timer for 1 hour and note that this is not a hard rule. Octopus varies a bit and it may take up to 1.5 hours to cook it. The 1 hour timer is a good checkpoint to check for doneness.

Step 2

Since there is a bit of a wait this is where it makes the most sense to finish the other items that need to be done.

Cut the potatoes into chunks. I tend to cut them just a little larger than bite-size. Or use those small different colored potatoes since those are always delicious and you can skip peeling.

Cut the tomatoes into bite-size chunks and salt&pepper them to taste. I love using pink Himalayan salt for this.

Slice the garlic into thin slivers.

Step 3

Make sure octopus is nice and tender, if it isn’t put it back in the oven with the foil back on and wait another 15-20 minutes. I tend to check in 15-20 minute increments at this point.

About done

If the octopus is nice and tender fish it out of the Dutch oven and put it on a separate dish.

About done

Carefully drop the potatoes and half the garlic into the Dutch oven and return it to the oven. Now comes the tricky part, the potatoes need to cook for 30-45 minutes and we want to make sure the octopus does not get cold. The way I did this is quickly get the Dutch oven back in the oven and wait a few minutes before I seared the octopus.

Step 4

Grab a pan that is large enough to fit all the octopus without touching the sides. Coat the bottom with EVO and don’t be shy. It is better to have some more oil than having your octopus burn or stick to the pan. Heat up the pan until the oil becomes a little runny; this is around 350F.

Now drop the octopus in the searing pan and be careful not to burn yourself! Throw the remaining garlic on top of the octopus. Now sear the octopus for about 2 minutes on all sides. I tend to go about 5-6 minutes total on the searing depending on the coloring.


Step 5

Once the potatoes are done fish them out of the Dutch oven and put them on a plate. Add a few tentacles and make sure you pour some of that cooking liquid from the Dutch oven on top of the potatoes and the octopus. Make sure you grab a couple of garlic slivers from both the Dutch oven and the frying pan. Both are flavor bombs!

Put the tomatoes on the side and sprinkle a bit of feta, if you so desire, on top of the tomatoes.


Dig in! And if you have any white wine left make sure you wash it down! I paired the dish with an acidic pinot grigio and it was perfect.

I don’t have a picture of an assembled plate because everyone attacked it before I could take a picture. It really was pretty fantastic.


Written on April 9, 2017