I have a bit of a thing for Raymond Blanc. Yes, you are right in thinking of the small, slightly tubby Frenchman with the big nose. But his television series’ are absolutely hilarious, and his enthusiasm and love for what he does is so infectious. And then of course there’s his accent. How can you resist a French accent??!
I’m dying to attend his Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons residential cooking course. It looks AMAZING. Unfortunately it is the same price as a small car and I’ve recently learnt that it’s not actually Raymond who teaches you – sob. So that dream will need to be added to the “after I win the lottery…” list.
So in the mean time I must rely on TV for lessons from the master himself. Raymond’s recipes always look divine, and are produced seemingly effortlessly. I guess that’s what happens when you’re a Michelin starred chef with a team of sous chefs and washer uppers behind you. Oh to have your own Adam!
I always watch Raymond’s programmes thinking, “I must try that soon”, however have invariably been put off by the level of pots and therefore washing up involved. Until I watched his latest series: “How to Cook Well”. A collection of much simpler, more accessible (by which I mean less pots and washing up) recipes, including today’s recipe, squid and chorizo stew.
I’m a sucker for a recipe involving chorizo. Such a versatile and delicious ingredient; it adds wonderful flavour to anything it touches. Add to that Raymond’s complete ecstasy over his finished dish and I couldn’t wait to try it.
It must be said, I was suspicious that the squid might be a little tough (experience of chewy calamari in Greek tavernas makes you wary). But the result of an hour’s slow cooking was tender pieces of squid, flavoured with the smoky juices from the chorizo and paprika infused tomato sauce. All you need is a good hunk of bread to soak up the juices and you’ve got a perfect weekend meal or even dinner party recipe.
Raymond Blanc’s Squid & Chorizo Stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, peeled and cut into 10 wedges
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 sprig thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
45g tomato puree
400g chopped tomatoes
200ml white wine
400g squid, skin and quill removed, scored and cut into 5cm pieces
200g cooking chorizo, cut into 3cm pieces
300g new potatoes, halved
Handful parsley, finely chopped (to serve)
1. In a medium pan over a medium heat, heat the olive oil and fry the onions, garlic, herbs, spices and a pinch of salt and pepper for 7 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
2. Add the tomato puree and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine and allow to bubble hard for a minute, then add the remaining ingredients.
3. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting – you want the dish to cook very gently, with just a few bubbles at a time. Cook for one hour.
4. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve piping hot, sprinkled with a little parsley. (Raymond also adds a few fried squid rings when serving to decorate).