STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Comfort Food

What is it with winter and the craving of comfort foods? Our winter has been pretty easy so far, no big major storms or deathly cold temps yet (although I'm sure that will come) but I have been craving comfort foods like crazy... Do you do that too? Surely it's not just me! It seems the only supper ideas I come up with these days are things like chili, beef stew, homemade soup, spaghetti, potato scallop and meatloaf....  I made a big batch of chicken curry a few weeks ago and there are several containers in the freezer, so that's an easy "pull out and thaw" comfort food meal... Last night I made Shepherd's Pie and served it with Caesar Salad (my yummy dressing recipe is here) and fresh warm rolls. Yummmm. I was comforted!   :)
So what are your thoughts on "comfort food?" Why do we crave it so? Is it the pleasant memory of childhood and happy family suppers around the table? Is it our wishing for some of  Mum's home-cookin'? Is it the fond memory of how good the house smelled at suppertime when we came in from being in the fresh cold winter air after skating or sliding?  What is your favourite "comfort" food?

Here's my Shepherd's Pie recipe, which came from Canadian Living magazine years ago...

Shepherd's Pie

2 lbs. potatoes
3 tblsp. vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I use more)
1 lb. medium or lean ground beef
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tblsp. tomato paste
1 tblsp. horseradish
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper
1.5 cups chopped peppers, red and green (yellow too if you want it really colourful!)
1/3 cup hot milk
2 eggs, separated
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Peel and quarter potatoes, cook in lightly salted water until tender. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in skillet, heat 2 tblsp. oil, cook onions and garlic until softened. Add mushrooms, cook for several minutes until golden. Transfer to 8 cup (2 qt.) casserole or baking dish and set aside.
In same skillet, cook beef, breaking up into small pieces, until evenly browned. Drain off fat and add meat to onion mixture.
In skillet, bring stock and tomato paste to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in mustard, horseradish, thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Add to meat mixture, mixing well.
In clean skillet, heat remaining oil and cook peppers until tender crisp. Spread over meat mixture.
Mash potatoes. Add hot milk, egg yolks, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Beat egg whites until stiff, fold into potato mixture. Spread evenly over meat mixture.
Bake in 425° F oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 20 minutes longer, or until meat is bubbly and top golden. Makes 4-6 servings.

** I sometimes omit the horseradish if I don't have it on hand, to no detriment. Also I often add a layer of green peas (frozen, not canned) on top of the peppers... that's good too!


"Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort." ~ Norman Kolpas


Country Gal said...

I make mine like this only this is a Cottage pie to us when made with beef , shepherds pie we make with lamb lol ! I know crazy Brit traditions lol my mum used to make it as well and it was and still is one of our favorites she also made Cornish pasties to , another one of our favorites with beef and then a home made desert like a pie or two , oh nothing like home made British cooking I miss my mums cooking and baking . ! Looks good though and Cesar salad YUMMY we have that with a spaghetti supper funny how every one has and does things differently isn't it ? Yes what is it with winter months and comfort foods ? . It hasn't been any where near like our typical winter so far , why it is pouring rain and mild here and we haven't had any snow yet whats with that I say not the great white north as we knew it to be any more lol ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day .

My Maine Blog said...

It looks and sounds like the perfect, delicious comfort food recipe. Bet it was yummmy!!!!! I'm feeling the same way on this cold, rainy and windy Sunday so I made my favorite comfort dinner for tonight. A chicken pot pie, with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, herb stuffing, peas and gravy. So fattening but ohhhh so delicious. Gotta' go mash those potatoes now. Take care Linda and thanks for your recipe ... gotta' try it soon. : )

Vee said...

The rain is pounding and the wind is roaring and, yes, I want comfort food. Your Shepherd's Pie looks yummy. Our comfort food today was a typical Sunday dinner...baked chicken, potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and cranberry. For dessert, apple turnovers and ice cream. It was yummy. Now I'll be able to make the ultimate comfort food...chicken noodle soup tomorrow. Has your weather been as nuts as ours?

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I have hamburger in the fridge now and think I'll try this. For me, I don't think of what most call comfort food as that. I think of them as Winter Suppers. Meals that are usually prepared in the oven. I guess they ARE comfort foods because you think about eating them when it's cold out, as opposed to a cob salad.

Shepherd pie for supper, yum!!
xx, Carol

GailM. said...

That looks delish. I might just give it a try. It's cool in Florida today.

Pamela Gordon said...

I don't think I've ever made Shepherd's Pie although it was often on the dinner table at our house growing up. I should try it this winter as it's a good comfort food. :)

Mary Ellen said...

I Linda tried out your shepherd pie recipe today,it was a big hit with both of us. Thanks for the recipe.

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