Rain, some days I do love it and today has got to be one of those days. After nearly 27 years of living in England, I’ve gotten fond of the stuff, more out of necessity than anything else, otherwise one may go mad. Plus it gives me an excuse to get in the kitchen to cook something warming and satisfying to counteract the drizzle of the weather. It’s been a busy weekend and I’ve not had much time to cook, spending my time instead on downing shots and trying to drunkenly befriend the police force, so some rainy day cooking was called for. Note to readers by the way, the police aren’t impressed when you stroke their high vis jackets and try to sympathise with them by despairing at all the drunken idiots preventing them from doing such a fine job. Irony not being my strong point after a few cocktails. I do not remember this incident but unfortunately my friends do.
What food then could help soothe such humiliation? I took a gamble on Baked Potato Soup from America’s Most Wanted Recipes – Favorite Restaurants. Not exactly a snappy title and let’s not even get started on the misspelling of favourite, but a great cookbook nonetheless. I bought this on holiday in Florida a few years ago after having a dawning realisation that once I was home I wouldn’t be able to eat the food I loved on holiday. It doesn’t matter how much you may love sophisticated French food or the traditions of Italian cooking, American food dishes up meals people really want to eat. After all, a great burger is the stuff of dreams and impossible to turn down. There’s no pretension, just tasty food that may also give you a heart attack or embolism if eaten on a daily basis. If you don’t believe me, then you clearly haven’t been watching Man vs Food. This cookbook takes classic recipes from some of Americas biggest chain restaurants and tells you how to make them. So if you want to know how to make Red Lobsters cheddar biscuits, Subways sweet onion sauce, or even KFC’s original recipe chicken then this is the book for you. Unfortunately there is no guide on McDonald’s cheeseburgers or fries, although this is more likely a blessing in disguise. This soup recipe comes from The Hard Rock Cafe, which I’ve been to but did not have this soup. It’s pretty straightforward to make and I can happily say that baked potato soup, despite sounding pretty boring, is delicious and very comforting on a rainy day. However, with comfort comes a big calorie hit, and this soup is no exception. Bacon, potato, cream and cheddar, this soup certainly isn’t good for your waistline but what it lacks in nutrition it makes up for in taste. It’s creamy, thick from the potatoes and has deep salty crunch from the streaky bacon. If you wanted to make this soup a tiny bit healthier you could leave out the cheese as still tasted gorgeous without it, but really, it would be like getting a Diet Coke instead of full fat alongside your Big Mac meal. The damage has well and truly been done. Don’t get up on your English high horse either, stick to American style streaky bacon as you won’t get the super crispy ribbons that shatter under your fingers with English style bacon. Overcome your patriotism just this once, and leave our bacon for glorious weekend bacon sarnies. If you see this book around and love eating out in America I urge you to give this book a go, everything I’ve cooked from it has been very, very edible. Do check out the website as well where you can find this recipe and many more: http://americasmostwantedrecipes.com/h2.html