Comfort Food in Trying Times

When the world is in an uproar, there’s something about cooking that, for me, is comforting. Even better is when the recipe takes simple ingredients and a bit of work – chopping, stirring, cooking time over an hour or so. This past weekend I indulged and cooked two fairly simple dishes that took some time.

On Saturday, I was scrolling for “healthy vegetable recipes”, and came across one for Mushroom Sugo over at Simply Recipes. Intrigued, I looked further, and they had me at the first sentence…”The onions cook for a long time…” bingo. Just what I was looking for.

(Doesn’t this look yummy? And it’s NOT a beef dish!)

Scanning the ingredients – dried porcini mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, a bunch of other fresh herbs, wine, etc – I could almost smell the rich scent in my kitchen. So when it came time to head off to the store to buy my new dishwasher, I took the recipe with us.

Unfortunately, the dishwasher drama took longer than I thought it would. Then finding Porcini mushrooms was another epic drama – three stores. THREE. In Southern California, no less.

But finally, I got home with everything I needed, and I began chopping. Whoops, change that to mincing, which takes four times as long as chopping. Half way through the forest of vegetables I had to mince, I was now thoroughly irritated with myself and everyone around me (except the cat). I had envisioned starting the dish around two in the afternoon, never mind the fact that we didn’t even set out to shop until 3:30p. Mincing onions that needed to cook for 40 minutes at 6:30p wasn’t my idea of a good time.

Anyway – the onions eventually turned a deep goldeny brown color, all the other vegetables were minced in good order, everything got put into the pot at the appropriate time, and finally – finally! – I was able to sit back, exhausted, and enjoy the scents wafting from the covered pot on the stove. It needed to simmer for 90 minutes.

What I received, as a thank you for all that chopping? A wonderful, thick, gravy-like bit of vegetable nirvana. I served it over rotini and backed it with a terrific Zinfandel, but it would be fabulous on top of a broiled chicken breast, or as a sauce on mashed potatoes. The porcini liquid (from soaking the mushrooms) added a richness usually found in beef dishes, and the flavor from all those onions, carrots, celery and garlic melded with the mushrooms to make a winter night glow. I definitely give this recipe a “You Gotta Try It!”

On Sunday, I made Braised Root Vegetables and Cabbage with Fall Fruit – wanting to stay in that hearty-but-healthy mode – from Food & Wine’s website. A medley of onions, carrots, radishes, turnips, Savoy cabbage, apples and pears, it was surprisingly mellow and tasty, and nothing needed to be minced – so it was quick to chop those vegetables, too. Ten minutes on the stove top and half an hour in the oven, and it was a fabulous complement to our steak dinner. On Monday night, it did double duty – heated up, it went great over pasta with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese. This recipe, too, gets a “You Gotta Try It!”

So there you go – two hearty vegetable recipes. I swore the next time I made the Mushroom Sugo, I’d make a triple batch, teach the teens how to mince, and then freeze most of it for heating up in the depths of deadlines – but that would also mean getting a bigger refrigerator/freezer. Which is a different posting, all together. Until next time, here’s to eating healthy and drinking responsibly!

The Autumnal Equinox comes September 23rd – it’s time to get ready.

~ Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Get your copy today!~

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16 Responses to Comfort Food in Trying Times

  1. Yummy, Christine. I’ll definitely try the Mushroom Sugo one of these chilly weekends. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Roz Lee says:

    I’m more of a dump it in the slow cooker until if falls apart on its own, kind of cook! Three stores? To find mushrooms? I’d grab a pound of ground beef and call it a day! LOL

    • LOL Roz! I know, but when my husband gets his sights set on something, turning him aside is difficult!

      I love the slow-cooker stuff, too – but with veggies, I find stove top or oven work best. Don’t know the chemistry of it or why – but meats in the crock pot are delish!

  3. Laura says:

    How about using a food processor for mincing? You can pulse until they’re the right size. However, that gives you additional stuff to wash, unless, like me, you put them in the dishwasher!

    They look really yummy!

    • You caught me, Laura! I did try my food processor with the onions. But in order to get everything the right size, it’s touch and go – lots of my onion ended up as juice, lol. So for the rest of the veggies, I did it the old fashioned way.

  4. Ciara Knight says:

    Sounds amazing. I love fall cooking. As a matter of fact, I pulled out my slow cooker and made creamy chicken today. 🙂 It was so yum!

  5. LaTessa says:

    The Mushroom Sugo looks delicious. I’m going to try my hand at it next week. I made chilli this week to get my “hearty meal/comfort food” fix.

    • Christine says:

      Welcome, LaTessa! It’s great to see you here. I’d love to make chili, but the hubby doesn’t appreciate it’s rich goodness…so I don’t make it. My dad’s favorite meal when he was in his prime was a “chili-size” burger – hamburger with chili, cheese and onions on top! I think he ate one of those at every place we stopped one vacation…

  6. Ooh Ciara, I want that creamy chicken recipe!

  7. Robin says:

    The mushroom sugo looks and sounds so yummy! I’m glad it was worth all the shopping and cooking time. I’ve never been to Simply Recipes. I’ll have to check it out.

    • Skye Summers says:

      I’ve put Simply Recipes in my favorites now. It is definitely worth a look.

      • Christine says:

        Skye, I get their emails now about twice a week. I highly recommend them – I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed. And welcome to my blog!

    • Christine says:

      Robin, I really recommend Simply Recipes. And the mushroom sugo – OMG!!! If I could, I’d eat it on a very regular basis. Now all I have to do is get my sons’ chopping skills up to par…lol!

  8. Elise says:

    Hi Christine,
    I’m so glad you liked the sugo! It’s one of those worth-the-effort recipes in my opinion. BTW, the link you have listed above is broken. The URL for the sugo is http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mushroom_sugo/
    Best,
    Elise

  9. Christine says:

    Elise! I’m honored by your presence! And thanks for checking the link – I’ve fixed it with the above.

    Cheers my dear!

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