I’ve never met a cooking show or celebrity chef I didn’t like or want to stalk. I mean follow. Did I write stalk? Wait, that’s a lie. I really don’t like that show with the guy who I believe is named Guy. And there’s that show with Andrew Zimmern where he eats disgusting food with his mouth open. Chomping away. Didn’t his parents teach him manners?
But I do love me some Top Chef. Tom Colicchio. Padma. Anthony Bourdain could be doing the weather report and I would watch him for all his hard drinking bravado. I have a major crush on Chef Ludovic Lefebvre of LudoBites in LA. Seriously. The bad boy of cooking. The tattoos, his motorcycle, the French accent. That man could say ‘dirty socks’ in French for hours and I’d be mesmerized. Nigella Lawson is brilliant! Talented, beautiful and a tiny bit naughty. I totally have a girl crush on her. I know these chefs aren’t just pieces of meat for me to drool over. It’s their amazing culinary skills that truly make me swoon. I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point.
The Two Fat Ladies ROCK!
After all that what I have to say is that my culinary heart belongs to Jennifer Patterson and Clarissa Dixon-Wright. Otherwise known as The Two Fat Ladies. And that they were. Fat. And fabulous. And totally unapologetic about it. No one was trying to get them to become spokeswomen for Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.
The Two Fat Ladies is a British cooking program where they tool around Britain in Jennifer’s motorcycle which conveniently has a sidecar for Clarissa visiting beautiful places and cooking amazing food. I have watched each episode in the series at least three times and would watch them all over again.
Unfortunately it is with great sadness that I have to tell you the show is no longer on the air. But you can watch past episodes through the miracles of the Interwebs. I was in Ottawa when I learned Jennifer Patterson had died. I actually cried. That’s how attached I was to those two women that I didn’t know and would never meet.
Order their books on amazon.com. You must meet and become friends with The Two Fat Ladies. I insist.
Granted I don’t think that I’m going to make something called Jugged Hare that involves one young hare, or jackrabbit with its liver, heart and blood. I’m too much of a sissy. But I admire that they make it. A lot of their recipes are classics and just watching them cook or reading the recipe makes you want to immediately be not only British, but make something called Marinated Loch Fyne Kippers or Beanz Meanz Fitz.
For now I’ve opted to stay away from game, plucking, deboning and the like. Today I’m going to share a recipe that I love and have made many times. And of course it involves alcohol. Not bourbon this time. Beer or wine is called for in this dish. Although I was thinking that sherry may have been a good choice as well.
Easy Onion Soup with Stilton
You can play around a bit with this recipe. If you love onions add boatloads. If you don’t have homemade stock, use some from the grocery. Use all stock. No booze. But that would be silly. No booze. Who does that?
2 medium onions per person chopped
2 T butter or 1 T olive oil per person
Salt and freshly ground pepper
11/4 cups liquid per person (see below*)
a pinch of fresh thyme or winter savory (or the dried stuff you have in your pantry will do just fine.)
Stilton cheese (or any kind of blue cheese will do. just don’t tell. Stilton is really best and you can get a big chunk for a reasonable price at Trader Joe’s)
In a heavy saucepan, heat the fat and saute the onions. Th color of the finished soup depends on how much you caramelize the onions. (I’m all about caramelizing the crap of the onions.) But if you don’t like a dark brown soup cook onions to a light gold. Totally up to you. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the liquid and bring to a boil. Adjust the seasoning and add the thyme. Cover and simmer fiercely for 30-40 minutes. (Only Brits can say things like ‘simmer fiercely’ by the way.)
If you are using Stilton rind, grate it finely. Otherwise chop the cheese. In either case, add it halfway through the cooking and stir well. If adding wine or beer to stock (why wouldn’t you?) do so 10 minutes before the end.
Serve with croutons and a lovely salad.
*Use half wine or beer and half stock or you can just as easily use all stock and add a glass of wine or beer at the end of cooking.
Make this soup. You will love it! Until next time. Moose out.