Julie Powell, of the movie Julie & Julia, is a food blogger determined to cook through the entirety of Julia Child’s classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. The climax of this feat is her attempt at boeuf bourguignon, a dish so important and representative of the intricacies of traditional French cuisine that she decides to serve it to her first food critic. It’s a classic that’s hard to improve on, but we’ve included a pressure cooker version of Ms. Child’s signature dish, which saves time without compromising flavor. [Ed. Note: learn more about Andrew Rea's obsession with recreating famous food from movies and television here.]
"Tamal en cazuela is our ultimate comfort food," insists Acela Matamoros, one of Cuba's top cooking teachers and food historians. A kind of Cuban polenta -- or a stove-top tamal -- at its most basic, tamal en cazuela can be just a soft mush of water, cornmeal, and salt, sometimes eaten with milk and a sprinkle of sugar. Other versions use grated corn or the strained "milk" of the corn puree, which thickens when cooked. The flavorings range from classic pork, such as here, to chicken to seafood. This recipe, using pork ribs and a combination of grated corn and some cornmeal to thicken it, is easy and fairly quick but delivers plenty of that comforting, grandmotherly flavor.
Roasting mushrooms gives them a great, meaty texture that is perfect for this grilled cheese sandwich. This takes more time, but – trust us – the flavor is far more intense.
In hindsight, stuffing a meatball with a tot seems like an obvious idea, but I couldn’t find any evidence of it being done before! After testing the merits of precooking the tots to add an extra dimension of brown flavor and crispness, my tasters unanimously agreed that the uncooked tots worked better. This is because browning the tots essentially seals them inside a crust, keeping them separate from the meat surrounding them. But when you wrap the thawed tots in meat, they really become one with the meatballs and the delicious pork flavor permeates the tots.
Chicken pot pie is one of the most classic comfort foods there is. The thing with pot pie, though, is the crust is complicated and can get soggy easily. This version uses tots as the crust, so it’s easy to make and will be super crispy every time. You can make this in a large baking pan, but I like to use individual baking dishes so my guests can dig into their own little pies.
Why have a burger with some tots on the side when you can just build a burger with tots as the bun! These mini tot sliders are first and foremost insanely cute. Believe it or not, they are actually pretty easy to make, too. But most important—they are extremely delicious. If you serve your friends these sliders when they come over for the big game, they will lose their minds!
Moxie soda is a beloved New England soft drink first created in 1876 as a medicinal beverage. It’s flavored with gentian root, giving it a bitter flavor, with hints of cola, root beer, and Dr Pepper, which is what you should substitute if you can’t find Moxie where you live. It’s the secret ingredient in these beans, giving them a complex, sweet, and fruity flavor.
Pot au Feu is essentially a beautiful, tender pot-roast that is served in a clear, beef broth studded with vegetables.
I found this recipe written in pencil on a 3 x 5 card tucked inside my Grandmother Schwyhart's old, worn cookbook. The apples are particularly nice in this dish; they puff up as they cook, and they really soak up the other flavors.
So many of my favorite dishes are connected to memories from years ago, if not decades ago, and this is one of them. My son always loved a good meatball soup, and when Wolfie was a little boy and I didn’t feel like cooking, I opened a can of Progresso Chickarina soup. It’s regarded by many as the greatest tasting soup ever sold in a can, right up there next to Campbell’s classic tomato soup. Years ago the grocery stores in my neighborhood quit carrying the chickarina soup, which led me on a quest to make my own—and all I can say is thank goodness I set out on that journey. The meatballs are the key to my version; they’re tiny and sticky and decidedly unlike those you’d make for spaghetti and meatballs or turkey meatball soup. They have a unique consistency, enabling them to cook differently in the chicken broth. They end up as tasty little puffs. And yes, this requires an investment in time, mostly to make the meatballs. But it’s worth the wait. This is comfort food at its finest—a perfect call for lunch or dinner on the coldest day of the year. Or take it in a thermos on an outdoor adventure—a widemouthed thermos, of course.