The sense of belonging, at least in food...

My sense of belonging isn't really what it's supposed to be. As I may have mentionned before, whatever is written on my passport, isn't necessarily how I feel. I do have a mix and match background, with a few question marks on the family tree, in a region which has it's share of going back and forth from one country to an other.
To me, those are not weaknesses, I see it more like a rich diversity, the opportunity to share different cultures and point of views. It doesn't mean we have to agree on everything, but at least respecting each other.

I know, I might be a little too optimistical or naive at a time almost every country try to play on the "national pride" theme. I just don't see it as a way out of the mess we are in, more like a way to create barriers again, where we tried so hard to break them down.
Obviously, my recent trip to Lisbon didn't help me to figure out where's my place on the map. The little pinch I have in my heart everytime I leave, means just as much as any official paper I could ever get.

So where do we belong? Where we were born? Where our family is? Where we feel right? Where we build our life? Is there only one place like this, or do we have multiple options? Of course, I don't have any of these answers, otherwise I wouldn't be asking myself these questions.
So instead I cook. This dish is just what I needed coming back from Lisbon, something that felt portuguese, even if it might not be. Bay leaves, potatoes and onions are the base of many dishes. Some food shopping has been done and put to use in this dish. It's not very "pretty", like most dishes that cook for a while, but it took me back for a short while to one of the places I know I belong to.

Octopus Casserole

Serves 2

200gr of Octopus (mine came from a tin)
2 Big Potatoes
1 Big Onion
3 Bay Leaves
50gr of Chouriço
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
250ml of Vegetable Broth
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper
Parsley, to sprinkle

Peal and cut the onion into thin half moon shape, do the same with the potatoes. In a big pan, on a medium flame, heat up some olive oil and add both into it with the bay leaves. Salt a little, and keep stirring so it won't attach.

Cook it like that for about 7-8 minutes, you want just a light coloring. Now add the broth and the tomato paste, stir to combine well before adding the (cooked) octopus cutted in small pieces, aswell as the chouriço cut into thin slices.

Lower the heat, and let most of the liquid bubble away, this should take about 45 minutes. Stir every now and than, and check if you potatoes are cooked, if there's no liquid anymore and the potatoes are not done yet, add a bit more broth.

Check for seasoning, add salt and/or pepper to your taste and sprinkle with some freshly chopped parsley when you serve it.

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