What is comfort food? I think we all have different criteria. For me it is food that I can eat with a fork or spoon, that is warming and filling, is easy to make but may take a while to cook filling the house with wonderful aromas and it usually has a connection to some happy memory or other.
Stews with mash, gloopy risottos, warming soups with crusty bread, cottage pie….get the picture? These foods are great when the cold, gloomy days are getting me down.
They have other selling points too. They are generally quite cheap to make – really important when the news is full of how food costs are going up with the bad harvests we are seeing this year.
A good stew doesn’t need expensive meat – some of the best cuts for slow cooking are cheap and unfashionable cuts. Ask a friendly butcher – he may even trim and chop it for you. You don’t need to use much meat to get a really great flavour and then then fill the pot with carrots, onions and whatever other seasonal vegetables you like. Add a generous handful of lentils or a can of pulses. These add flavour and can thicken the gravy but also add fibre to the pot too – something which many of us don’t get enough of.
Do you have a slow cooker lurking in the back of the cupboard? Drag it out and put it to good use.