For the cream of spinach soup: Add the chicken broth, celery, carrots, potatoes, shallots, garlic and bell peppers to a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer on medium-low heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the soup, reserving the broth and vegetables separately.
Add the cooked vegetables, fresh spinach and heavy cream to a blender in batches and puree. Add enough of the reserved broth to the puree until it reaches the desired consistency. Add the dill if using. Season with salt and a pinch of white pepper.
For the spinach and red pepper saute: In a saute pan, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the spinach, bell peppers, shallots, some salt and pepper and red chile flakes if using and saute until the spinach and peppers are tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
For the grilled octopus: Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Clean the octopus well, removing the outer membrane from each tentacle.
Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, chopped dill, red chile flakes and some salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the octopus and let marinate for 3 to 5 minutes.
Grill the octopus, allowing some parts to char slightly for good flavor, 8 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the tentacles. Do not overcook or the octopus will become chewy and dry. Set aside.
Spoon some soup into each bowl. Lay a piece of octopus in the center, and add a dollop of the spinach and red pepper saute.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Michelle Karan