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.
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