Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Chef Love-in #1 - Jamie Oliver / Butternut Brown Rice Laksa Soup

I am a HUGE Jamie Oliver fan!!! Have been since the very first time I saw his show the Naked Chef on the Food Network. I fell in love with his sense of originality immediately...

The Naked Chef.
It was his first book, definitely not his best...but I remember being uber impressed when I first bought it, and I made many things from it. The Basic Risotto recipe is still my 'Go-To.'

My Hands-Down Favourite Recipe from this book:  Spiced Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks -I have made this numerous times for special occasions like Christmas Eve...It is SO Good!!

Years later, he's still my fave.
 I have almost all of his cookbooks (half are currently at the cottage) and I use them regularly (I really do!)
He's a phenomenon of food and loved the world over.  He's an all-round adorable foodie, fun-loving family guy and good-food revolutionary. He dreams big and he's done much.
I admire the heck out of him.

I have so many favourite Jamie Oliver recipes...but today, it is such a bitterly cold November day, so I decided to make a lovely soul-warming soup from the book Jamie's Dinners....Pumpkin Rice Laksa Soup. Couldn't find any pumpkin this morning so instead,  I used Butternut Squash and Brown Rice instead of Basmati.
This soup is Asian-inspired and somewhat exotic so some of the ingredients may not be readily available. Luckily, I live very close to a huge Asian Grocery Store that carried everything I needed. What an incredible selection! Fu Yao Supermarket is a blog post unto itself.

I started by blending the lemon grass, ginger, garlic, chilli peppers, cilantro, lime leaves, cumin and Chinese 5-spice....It was somewhat pulpy so I added a little water and olive oil to the mix to soften it and help it blend. Make sure it blends really well until it's a bright green, highly aromatic paste.

Next, I added the paste to my big red Le Creuset dutch oven and sauted the paste for a few minutes to intensify the flavours. Then, I added the butternut squash and chicken stock and simmered for 20 mins. Once the squash was soft, I added the rice and simmered until rice was tender (about 45 min- brown rice always takes a long time). Next, I added the coconut milk and seasoned with s and p and a big squeeze of fresh lime juice.

This soup is so lovely. Try it out.

Thanks Jamie Oliver!

BTW....these are what Lime Leaves look like....

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