While it’s fresh on my mind and on my plate, I want to share with you yet another Slow Cooker meal that I was unsure would work out. This is no ordinary risotto, this is a Raymond Blanc inspired risotto and using some of my own fresh produce making it even more extra special. When it comes to the best of the best chefs, I think Raymond is quite possibly my top favourite. He potters around his kitchen like a jolly Frenchman with his “Anyone can cook” nature, breathing in all the best fresh ingredients like he’s getting a natural high and also makes me laugh. Not only this, his teaching methods seem very calm and relaxed, but those around him do sometimes struggle to keep up with his energy. I could never work for Gordon Ramsay for instance; I’d throw the tea towel straight in his face and give his filthy language back. No doubt be sacked within seconds. But being taught by Raymond would be a dream come true and I’ve never tried a bad recipe of his.
As I searched for a Slow cooker rice to water ratio, I also looked at their combinations to play with and stumbled across Raymond once again. I immediately took to this recipe as it included his own tomato essence which I saw him make a few years ago on TV by straining his marinated tomatoes through a sheet that was tied up, hanging in his kitchen. Mr Blanc has been doing the same method for over 20 years and in fact his most popular dishes involve this ingredient and the key is not to squeeze it out but simply give it time to achieve a clear liquid avoiding the bitterness in the red. You can also turn tomato essence into a sorbet in an ice cream maker. Another day, eh? Ok, so I don’t want to completely alienate you as Raymond’s method takes hours so I just blended my cherry tomatoes and just chucked it in. I did try to sieve them but after 20 minutes, I thought no. Slow cooker meals are meant to be for those who have busy lives and so there’s most of my readership gone and moved on to a quicker recipe.
SW: I follow Slimming World’s Extra Easy plan to maintain and this recipe is syn free if not having the optional chorizo and if you are using cheese as part of your healthy extra.
My Recipe – Serves 4
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
250g/7oz arborio risotto (Raymond prefers carnaroli for a creamier finish)
Salt and ground black pepper
400g butternut squash, peeled and diced
600ml/10½fl oz water
650g cherry tomatoes, halved and blended
200g bacon, fatty bits trimmed off after weighing, cut in to strips
1-2 chicken stock cubes
25g chorizo, diced (optional syns) – I needed to use mine up
1/tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a pestle & mortar
½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed in a pestle & mortar
A handful of spinach
A sprinkle of freshly grated parmigiano (parmesan) per person (healthy extra, or syn it)
A sprinkle of fresh chives, chopped for garnish
If you don’t want to miss out on future recipes, then why not subscribe for free below to get the latest straight in your inbox?
- Saute the onions and garlic in a pan with butter frylight for five minutes or until translucent.
- Now blend the cherry tomatoes and seasoning together and transfer them and the onion mixture to the slow cooker.
- Then add everything else to the slow cooker apart from the chives, cheese and spinach and set on high for 1:30hrs.
- Once the time is up, start stirring occasionally for an extra 30 minutes, adding a little water if necessary.
- Stir in the spinach, allowing it to wilt, serve and garnish with the cheese and chives.
- You may want to stir in 2 tbsp of crème fraiche or mascapone as Blanc’s original recipe suggests, but I think this is creamy enough And why not top with fresh halved cherry tomatoes?
I have not tried this on low for a longer period of time which would be more suitable for anyone heading out to work so once I have, I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m just thankful I’ve found one that does not require constant attention.
As always, please comment below with what you thought of it!
Tastefully Vikkie x