Like yesterday’s visitor – my oft lover Alan Cumming – I was lucky enough to see the majesty of my girl Lena Hall’s Tony Award winning performance as Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and I would argue that my life is all the better for having had the experience.
While I haven’t known Leens as long as some of my other Tony winning friends – hey, not everyone can live as long as the sublime Angie Lansie – we have been the best of friends since meeting.
The year, 2006. She had flown to Tweed Heads to search out the award winning star of the high school musical Jungle Fantasy to prepare for her turn in Tarzan: The Musical. That best legs award winning star was me. While due to licensing fees my character was named Tartan and the English teacher that co-directed had opted for some odd colour blocked outfits that made me look like I skinned a tiny muppet – hey, gotta show off my 15 year old pins I guess – Lena heard that my performance was legendary and wanted some advice.
FYI, the performance – inspired by the great Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle – was, in fact, legendary.
I haven’t been able to catch up with Lena since her run in Hedwig due to our busy schedules, so she was thrilled to be able to take some time to get together and honour the Tonys and run the odds for all things revivals. While I’m desperately trying to bed Rannells, I had to agree with Lena that Hello Dolly! Is likely to take out Best Revival of a Musical, while Six Degrees of Separation should take out the award for plays on account of their performing nods.
Given our conversation was pretty straight forward, we instead turned our attention to reconnecting and enjoy each other’s company over a hearty and warm Chorizo & Beana Hall Ragu.
You know how passionately I love any and all sausage, but there is something particularly satisfying about a spicy chorizo. It works even better in this little number, adding a kick to the delicate bean ragu that leaves you happy, warm and fulfilled. I know that sounds like I’m over selling it, but I’m not.
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
a bay leaf
500g chorizos, sliced into 5mm coins
¼ cup red vermouth
800g can crushed tomatoes
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
3 x 400g cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
2 cups chicken stock
juice and zest of one lemon
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
40g baby kale or rocket
Heat a good lug of oil in a medium pan over medium heat and sweat the onion, 3 cloves of garlic and the bay leave until soft and the onion translucent. Add the chorizo and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the cinzano and tomatoes. Season heartily, reduce heat to low and simmer for about fifteen minutes.
While the tomato is getting acquainted with the cho-cho, heat another lug of oil in another pan. Add the remaining garlic and thyme and cook for a minute or so. Add the beans and cook for a couple of minutes further. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes. Remove the beans from the heat and lightly mash the beans, leaving chunks so the ragu retains some texture. Stir through the zest and juice, and the cheese until creamy and combined.
Serve the beans, topped with the tomato-y chorizo and drown in additional parmesan before devouring.