“All food is comfort food. Maybe I just like to chew.” Lewis Black
Are there times, especially on weekends, when all you want to do is stay in your jammies…watch movies…drink your favorite “something”…& do nothing else?
We recently had one of those weekends. It had snowed, and when it snows in the South, it’s a mess. We didn’t want to do anything but sit by a fire, hang out, & do nothing. Then, hunger came. Émilie asked, “Can we just order take-out?”
“Not a chance. No one is going to drive in this mess. We’ll figure something out.” That was my response. The problem is, I now needed to figure something out, because it was nearing six o’clock…at night.
That weekend, we also had Ethan, my second child, here for a visit. We certainly picked a doozie of a weekend for visiting, but, then again, it’s winter, and weather is unpredictable. Ethan loves to eat like we do, so I asked him, “What should we make?”
Being the well-mannered guest that he is, he replied, “Whatever you think. I’ll eat anything.”
Émilie chimed in…”Comfort food.” I asked, “Pasta?” Emilie retorted, “That or something with rice. I’m in the mood for rice. What’s that stuff you stir so long? It’s really good comfort food.”
“Risotto?” I asked. Emilie says, “Yep, I love that stuff.” Ethan smiles. He likes it too.
Ok, Risotto it is. It really is the perfect comfort food…creamy & lush in your mouth, & when made right, the arborio rice still is a little al dente. The only problem was…I only had about ¾ cup of arborio rice in the pantry. I scoured the shelf for more rice…& found farro. Have you ever eaten farro? It’s composed of the grains of certain wheat species, sold dried and prepared by cooking in water until soft, but it still remains crunchy. It is often used as an ingredient in dishes such as salads and soups, particularly in Italy. I thought, “Why not? How bad could risotto & farro be together? The worst thing that could happen is…they don’t like it. Oh well.”
Next…what to add to the farrotto…I thought that was catchy. I looked in my freezer, where I keep leftover stocks & a mishmash of other things…after a little digging, I found chicken stock, chicken breasts & bacon. Nope, no bacon in the farrotto…ah, I had dates in the pantry…yes, the natives were getting restless…
…so, I made Bacon Wrapped Dates in a few minutes while I defrosted the chicken stock & chicken on the stove…I then baked & served these salty-sweet gems with a little Sweet Asian Chili Sauce, while I made the farrotto…once the stock had melted, I threw in the chicken breasts…then decided that chicken farrotto was too blah…what else could I add?
I looked through the pantry & fridge for what else I could add to the farrotto…a can of diced tomatoes, a can of artichoke hearts & dried mushrooms, & a lemon and garlic…all this went into the stock…ooh, we were going to have a feast!
Within about 30 minutes of defrosting the chicken breasts in the stock…in my mind, the best way to defrost the meat, as the breasts don’t become dry & leathery…Chicken Artichoke Farrotto with Tomatoes & Mushrooms was ready to serve. The farro contributed a little crunch & was a nice contrast to the creaminess of the arborio rice. The mushrooms added an earthy flavor, while the tomatoes, artichokes & lemon added a wonderful citrusy, acidic flavor to the farrotto…we grated a little Parm onto our pasta bowls…Ethan & I added a little hot pepper flakes just because…in short, we had a great comfort food one-pot menu in an hour.
What I love about this menu…just wait for dessert…is that everything was on hand. That’s the point, to me, about comfort food & one-pot-meals…if you have a few key items in your pantry, fridge & freezer, you can pretty much make anything. Do you need homemade stock…nope…just have a good quality stock from the grocery store on hand. Buy a few cans of your favorite veggies…it’s OK if it’s not fresh…keep chicken, shrimp, bacon, beef, tofu…whatever your favorite protein is…on hand, just in case…dried mushrooms last forever…so do dates…this way, when you feel like having a lazy day, you can…there’s something wonderful about being home all day…in your jammies…it’s sheer decadence.
Now for dessert…do you keep brownie mix in your pantry? If not, then reconsider this…this time of year is Girl Scout Cookie Time…to us, one of the best times of the year. I love adding Caramel deLites to brownie mix…it takes no time & the brownies are wonderful! Click here for the recipe…
…or here for Candy Bar Brownies…I typically make these around Halloween, with all that leftover candy. What I like best is that you can add anything to a brownie mix…chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, toffee, even chili & Kahlúa...no matter the addition, the brownies will be delicious. Can you think of anything better when you’re in #comfortfoodmode? 😋
Have a great weekend! Tomorrow, plan to stay in your jammies all day…watch old movies…& enjoy this comfort food one-pot menu, which really can be made in an hour…Cheers!