Greek Cuttlefish and Spinach Stew/ Σουπιές με Σπανάκι

Greece is well known for their amazing squid (καλαμάρι), which is commonly served battered and deep-fried, or stuffed with various ingredients, or simply grilled over a hot flame. Those of you that have been to a Greek fish market will know that those stalls selling fresh ‘calamari’ often sell fresh cuttlefish (fully covered in their own black ink) as well. While the more common squid is delicious, I actually prefer its more interesting cousin, the cuttlefish, as it has a fuller flavor and texture. If you love cuttlefish as well, or even if you’ve never tried cuttlefish before, this classic Greek ‘cuttlefish and spinach stew’ is the perfect dish for you!


This classic dish is enjoyed all over Greece, since fresh cuttlefish is relatively easy to find at fishmongers all over the country. The recipe is easy, basically foolproof and you will find that a little cuttlefish, a decent amount of fresh spinach, a couple of tangy and sweet tomatoes, several bunches of fresh herbs and some kind of liquid really go a long way. The cuttlefish is especially good in this recipe, since the slow simmering-process transforms the slightly chewy cuttlefish-meat into soft and tender pieces while the ‘sauce’ (the best part of the stew in my opinion!) gets infused with that incomparable and delicious cuttlefish flavor – it really is a perfect dish for seafood lovers!


Now, I said this dish is basically foolproof and part of the reason why is that it’s easily adaptable to whatever ingredients are within your reach. Can’t find good ripe tomatoes? Use some tomato paste and some extra water instead. Can’t find fresh chervil? Replace it with a small bunch of dill, or some extra spinach and spring onions. Don’t want to use wine? Simply add a little more water and lemon juice. The same rule applies to whatever you want to serve with your stew: scoop the stew and the sauce over some steamed white rice, or serve it alongside some fried-, mashed-, or boiled potatoes, or do as I do and serve it plain with a nice piece of crusty bread on the side to dip into the sauce.

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Tip #1: Can’t find good quality cherry, or grape tomatoes? Replace them with 2 – 3 ripe, medium-sized tomatoes, or even a heaped tablespoon of tomato paste and some extra water.

Tip #2: Want a more intense seafood flavor and umami-level? Add the contents of the ink sac found inside the fresh cuttlefish to the stew. Learn how to properly remove the ink sac from a cuttlefish in this post here.


Greek Cuttlefish and Spinach Stew/ Σουπιές με Σπανάκι

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  • DF
Classic Greek stew with cuttlefish, spinach and fresh herbs.
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:65 mins
  • Serves:4
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

  • 1 - 1.3kg cuttlefish (weight before cleaning, cleaned cuttlefish should weigh about 800g - 1kg)
  • 90ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 350g cherry tomatoes
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 - 2 lemons, juiced (need about 60ml of juice)
  • 250ml water
  • 2 spring onions
  • 500g fresh spinach
  • 90g fresh chervil (or replace with 40g fresh dill and a handful of extra spinach
  • 50g fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. To clean the cuttlefish [skip this step if you’ve bought cleaned cuttlefish]: Place the cuttlefish on a cutting board with the bone facing upwards. With a sharp knife pierce the skin along the edge of the cuttlebone and run your finger, or knife along the edge ripping the skin. Be careful trying not to cut too deep into any of the internal organs. Remove the bone.Next, separate the gray skin from the meat moving towards the flaps on the sides of the large body and take it all off. Flaps included. Discard the skin, but keep the flaps (they are edible). Now, carefully separate the membrane surrounding the internal organs from the white meat of the body. Take out the intact organs with the eyes and tentacles still attached. Separate the organs from the head by cutting underneath the eyes. Discard the organs, but you can keep the ink sac for later use when stored in the freezer (see how to take it out in my ‘Spaghetti and Cuttlefish in Cuttlefish Ink Sauce’ post). Remove the beak hidden between the tentacles by grabbing it firmly and squeezing it out. Finally, vigorously scrub the white meat of the head with about a tablespoon of coarse salt to remove as much of the thin membrane on both sides of the meat. The cuttlefish is now ready to use.
  2. Cut the cuttlefish: Take the cleaned large body of the cuttlefish and cut the meat into 1cm thick strips. Separate the legs by slicing between them and cut the two longer legs into smaller pieces.
  3. Sauté the ingredients: Place a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and let it get hot. Add the chopped yellow onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion goes translucent and starts to brown. Add the chopped garlic and strips of cuttlefish and sauté for about 3 minutes until the cuttlefish turns white and the garlic becomes fragrant.
  4. Stew the cuttlefish until soft: Add the cherry tomatoes, white wine, 250ml water, and lemon juice to the pot. Cover pot with a lid and turn the heat to low. Let the cuttlefish simmer for 45 minutes, or until it turns tender.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients: while the cuttlefish is stewing, thoroughly wash the fresh spinach making sure all the sand is removed. Roughly chop the spinach, both the leaves and stems. Wash the fresh parsley and chervil (or replace with dill and/or extra spinach if you can’t find any) and finely chop up the herbs. Cut the spring onions into thin rings.
  6. To finish the stew: when the cuttlefish is tender and the cherry tomatoes have turned soft, squish the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to release the juices. Add the chopped spinach, spring onion and the freshly chopped herbs. Stir ingredients together and add a little extra water if the mixture seems too dry (I always like a bit of extra juice to soak up with some crusty bread). Turn the heat up to medium and let all ingredients simmer for 10 minutes, until the herbs and spinach have withered and softened. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
Cooking times listed do not include the time it takes to clean the cuttlefish since some might buy it already cleaned.

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