My Go-To Comfort Food Recipes
I’m a lover of comfort food all year round (I do love my grub!). But some meals are especially effective in winter – who doesn’t enjoy a winter warmer?! Since getting my own place – and no longer having my meals cooked for me – I’ve developed my own wee inventory of comfort food recipes that I’m fairly confident making. I’m no MasterChef (although I’ve been binging seasons on Netflix) so if I can make these meals, anyone can! Since I live alone, I batch cook quite a lot – most of these recipes can be made in bulk and frozen. Most of my vegetables are frozen, too – it saves so much waste!
Rigatoni con Salsiccia (tweaked from MOB Kitchen’s Spicy Sausage Penne Bake)
I first came across this dish in one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Glasgow, Amarone. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had any other main meal in there, I order it every time I visit! This meal typically features crumbled Italian sausage, although I tend to use normal sausages from the supermarket. Squeeze them out of their skins, fry off with some onion and fennel seeds (and chilli if you fancy a bit of heat), add chopped tomatoes and you’re pretty much good to go! You can use any pasta, but rigatoni is ideal for dishes which include meat.
Chicken and Chickpea Curry (from BBC Good Food)
My Dad bought me a slow cooker for my birthday, and I’ve really enjoyed making curries in it. I never thought I’d be able to make an edible curry, let alone one that tastes lovely! This recipe does use a few different spices – but you only need a small amount of each one, so the jars will last for ages. The recipe I use is actually for chickpea curry without the chicken, so of course you can keep this vegetarian if you prefer. I love adding frozen spinach to the curry – I don’t eat enough vegetables, and I’m not a fan of spinach at all, but sneaking it into a curry is an easy way to increase your intake. I float between using coconut milk and creamed coconut with this recipe. If you’re more of a saucy person (oi oi) I’d suggest using coconut milk, whereas this photo shows the curry using creamed coconut. I prefer to eat my curries with a naan bread rather than rice.
Pea and Parmesan Risotto
I always thought making risotto was difficult, because you need to watch it like a hawk. Turns out, it’s really easy! It’s also incredibly versatile, because you can add so many different ingredients to it. The most popular one is mushrooms – to my great disappointment in every Italian restaurant, because I can’t stand them. I always have parmesan in my fridge and peas in the freezer, so this is my go-to combination. I also add frozen onion and garlic to give it a bit more flavour. Side note: it’s really difficult to make risotto look appealing in a photo!
Chorizo and Butterbean Stew (tweaked from Napolina)
I can’t believe I found one of my favourite recipes on the cardboard packaging of my chopped tomatoes. The Napolina version doesn’t include chorizo, so again you can make this as a vegetarian option if you like. I like to add a good dose of chilli to this one – there’s no comfort food like a winter warmer. This is another batch cook recipe for the slow cooker – just chuck everything in and leave it to cook! You can also cook it fresh on the hob if you prefer – I just like giving the chorizo time to release its flavour.
Chicken and Leek Pie (tweaked from Delicious Magazine)
This is a fairly new addition to the comfort food recipe inventory – and I’m hoping I’ll get better at making pies as time goes on! My Mum used to make this pie years ago – mine will never taste as good as hers, but I think everyone says that when they make the same foods as their relatives! Feel free to make your own pastry if you’re feeling ambitious; I’ll stick with the pre-rolled stuff! I saw a tip online for stopping the pastry collapsing into the pie – it’s the heat from the filling that causes it! Let the pie mixture cool before adding the pastry on top, and you should be good to go. In terms of tweaking this recipe, I don’t add white wine (I don’t drink it) and I add a little bit of mustard into the filling for some heat.
Spaghetti/Tagliatelle Carbonara (tweaked from MOB Kitchen’s Parma Ham Carbonara)
This is another super easy one to make when you’re in a rush. The hardest part for me is separating the egg yolks – I don’t eat eggs generally, so I don’t get much practice! I’ve never used Parma ham before in this recipe, but I’ve tried just about everything else. Bacon, pancetta, even some slices of cooked ham that normally go on sandwiches! When you live on your own, you sometimes have to be a wee bit creative with your ingredients. Whatever needs used up is what gets thrown in!
Those are just some of my favourite comfort food recipes in winter – although I really do enjoy them all year round! What are your go-to meals? xx