If you are indeed, lucky enough to pin down the frantic Jason Byrne for an interview, there truly is no way of knowing what he may come out with next. Then again, when you’re a globally touring comic, there can be as much insanity from the punters as there is from the stage. As Jason outlined in one incident, “Here in Melbourne, a fella brought in a bag with two spiders and a snake in it, he was sitting in the audience and said he was a vet, people were terrified.”
It was actually in Australia that he kicked off his, “You Name The Show” campaign, where his fans had to name the new show, not him. This unique approach brought back some great results which he was more than willing to share on his brilliant social media posts. But his own personal favourites were, “The picture of a knob drawn on the poster,”The Ginger Ballinteer Minge Brigade” and “YOU name the show.”
And when he’s not waxing lyrical about the antics of his fanbase, he’s quite happy to get back to telling us about his own somewhat unusual idiosyncrasies and indeed, those of his family. When I asked him about what kinds of special food traditions they have at his house, he had this to say, “Every Easter, we all go to my mum’s house to taste her famous Chocolate Easter Jesus pie. She makes it in the shape of Jesus on the cross and there are smarties in his head.”
Between outrageous audience members and semi blasphemous holiday cakes, its no wonder that Jason craves one piece of edible familiarity when he’s off the road. His wife’s amazing Vegetarian Chilli. At least that’s one element in his life that comfortably lacks any big surprises. Here’s how she does it….
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large, chopped Spanish onion
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 chopped red peppers
1 tablespoon of jalapenos
2 teaspoons dried oregano
250 ml of vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ can of black eyed beans
½ can of black beans
½ can of haricot beans
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 can of tomatoes
1 tub of sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander, 2 sliced scallions and 2 tablespoons of grated white cheddar.
Pre heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic; sauté until for about 10 minutes. Lash in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir for another 2 minutes. Mix in beans, stock, jalapenos, tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring it up to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens. It should take about 15 mins.
Ladle chili into bowls with rice and a heaped tablespoon of the sour cream mix on top.
Catch Jason Byrne’s brilliant live show in Vicar Street on either May 2nd or May 9th. This piece is also available to read in the far more respectable publication called The Irish Times.