Take days on end of frigid, icy rain. Add in one tumultuous week of political news. Mix in liberal amounts of stress from finals weeks for the kids. Lastly, add one dog who’s limping around and a husband on big-time deadlines.
What does this add up to?
The Comfort Foods Carousel.
Almost everyone I know is feeling some kind of stress or duress right now and it feels like we are all looking to one another for relief, calm, and support.
For my part, I present to you:
FIVE COMFORT FOODS THAT REALLY DELIVER THE GOODS.
(I’ve had all these foods past week, so the memories are fresh.)
One. Get chummy with Eggs.
Penny for penny, there’s really no better bargain than eggs. They are packed with protein but even more importantly, this delicious ingredient is one you almost surely have on hand at all times.
There are so many ways to enjoy them — all of which only take minutes to prepare.
Breakfast sandwiches are a terrific way to fuel yourself for a busy day ahead.
Open or closed ‘wiches — they’re all scrumptious.
And keep in mind that eggs are appropriate at any time of the day, making it a cook’s bestie.
How do you like the looks of that for an afternoon snack?
Two. Make some Roast Chicken.
Almost every week I roast a whole bird — and this week was no exception.
This week’s bird had cracked coriander, garlic and three kinds of pepper atop and was stuffed with Meyer lemons.
It marinated for a day in the fridge and it took just under an hour and fifteen minutes to crisp up beautifully.
I served it alongside roasted rainbow carrots and smashed and crispy Yukon Gold potatoes and a simple romaine salad.
These potatoes roasted until tender, and then I smushed them with a pan so a lot of surface area was created. I brushed these lovely lasses with turmeric and garlic oil and then put them back into a very hot oven until crispy throughout.
And one of the best things about roasting a chicken is what you can do with the leftovers the following day.
Which brings me to…
Three. Make a soup.
In my case, I made a Tom Kha Gai (Thai Hot and Sour Soup) with lots of lime and cilantro.
All I did was take the leftovers from my roast chicken dinner and turn them into liquid gold.
It was spot-on simple. I removed the leftover meat from the bird and set that aside. I simmered the chicken bones for an hour, and then added some of my favorite Thai sweet and sour paste. Back into the pot went the chicken meat along with the leftovers from the previous night’s dinner (basmati rice, potatoes and roasted carrots) and after ten minutes the soup was done.
Don’t have a leftover roast chicken to start a soup?
No worries. Use your favorite store-bought chicken stock or focus on a great vegetarian soup — like this Kabocha and Dal Soup.
Whatever soup you end up going for, make far more than you and your crew will eat in one sitting – and then share abundantly with the community around you: friends, neighbors, teachers, hairdresser, co-workers (on occasion I even leave some for my mailperson).
Nothing is more deeply restorative and appreciated than a bowl of homemade goodness hand-delivered with a note.
Four. Bake something nostalgic.
For me, I was craving something peanut butter-y. And chewy. And old school.
I knew just the thing.
Rice Crispy Treats with Peanut Butter and Chocolate.
These no bake treats are laughably easy to pull together, but browning the butter first (and then adding copious amounts of peanut butter to the melting marshmallows) reaped huge benefits.
I have one friend who is a huge peanut butter lover so I molded some of the dough into a cake pan and cut into wedges and left the little cake on her doorstep.
That right there is a serious game changer for a day of blahs.
Five. Cook up your favorite meat and potatoes (substitute earthy mushrooms for the former if you’re wanting a vegetarian meal).
I made another batch of Beef Bourginon. It’s a Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) recipe a neighbor shared with me, and I will include it below.
This week marked the third time in a month I’ve made this recipe, so you can be confident it’s solid.
It’s also ridiculously easy; all the work is up front.
You season the meat, toss with flour, and then brown it on top of the stove.
I sauteed the onions next, and deglazed with red wine. I added the browned meat and onions into a Dutch oven along with some beef stock, garlic, fresh herbs and salt and pepper and that was about it.
All you need to do then is find something to do to distract you from the increasingly tantalizing aromas coming from your kitchen.
Just a few hours later it’s ready to go.
Hopefully you have something to serve alongside, like mashed potatoes.
Or you can quick pull together some serious garlic bread.
I like Ciabatta bread best for this; I find all those airy holes are perfect for embracing the homemade garlic butter that will be slathered on and baked until the whole thing is crispy.
My God this stew is good.
Be sure to top with some herbs (I like thyme) and a little of your very best salt.
Whatever your week held, I hope you too found some delights and comforts close to home.
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- One 4-5 pound chuck roast, cut into 1½ inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 5 carrots, 1 finely chopped, 4 cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 heaping Tbs. tomato paste
- 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bottle Burgundy wine
- 1 lb. button mushrooms
- 1 14-ounce package frozen pearl onions
- 3-4 C. low-sodium beef broth
- Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Put a large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof pot over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, 5-7 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pot and reserve for serving.
- Pat the beef dry and season it with salt and pepper. Turn up the heat under the pot to medium high and brown the beef on all sides in batches, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Remove the meat from teh pot and set aside. If there is a lot of oil left, pour off all but 2 Tbs.
- Add the onion, clelery and finely chopped carrot to the pot and cook until the vegetables begin to wilt, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, flour and garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Pour in the wine, whisking to combine and bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms, pearl onions and 1 inch carrot pieces. Return the beef to the pot. Pour in enough broth to just cover the meat and bring to a simmer. Cover and put into the oven. Cook until the beef is tender, 1½ to 2 hours.
- Skim off any excess fat from the top of the stew and serve garnished with parsley and the reserved bacon.