Cape Verdean Calamari

Guisado de Lula

(Stew of Squid)

As Clarice Pinto and Lucy Pires, from Santiago, Cape Verde, taught Lindsay Sterling in Brockton Massachusetts. Photos by Lindsay Sterling.

Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 10
Notes: I adapted this recipe slightly to avoid MSG which was in many of the pre-prepared spice mixtures they used. You may use squid or calamari in this recipe; both taste great.


  • 3 lbs cleaned squid (a mixture of whole bodies about 4" long and legs is ideal; sliced bodies or rounds would also work)
  • 3-inch-piece of yuca root, also known as cassava (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced into triangular chunks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp annatto or achiote powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (adjust to your preferred spice level)
  • 1 tsp Old Bay (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon


1. Cook calamari covered with water in pressure cooker under pressure for 30 minutes. If you don't have a pressure cooker, don't worry about it. Just boil it for twenty minutes in a regular pot. Your calamari won't be super duper tender like hers was, but it'll still taste great.

2. Cut/pry the thick brown skin off the yuca. Slice lengthwise through the middle and carve out the fiber that runs through the middle. It's about the size of embroidery thread. If you can't find it, don't worry about it, it may become apparent as you cut the yuca into pieces. Cut the yuca into 1/2 inch thick triangles.

3. Strain calamari and add back to the pressure cooker pot or large pot with all other ingredients, including the yuca. Cook on medium high heat, boiling for about 20 minutes until the potatoes and yuca are soft and some of the liquid has evaporated.