Comfort food recipes from my archives…


I recently came across a few hearty recipes, going through my notes…

The day was chilly outside (by South Florida standards), but never the less colder than normal, and the mood was set for comfort…

4 ears of corn, husks removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 slices bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 onion, diced in 1/4 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, diced in 1/4 inch pieces
2 Yukon gold potatoes cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
5 cups chicken stock
Pinch of saffron
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Using a sharp knife, remove the corn from the cob. Set aside.

In a stockpot over medium heat, add the olive oil and bacon. Cook the bacon slightly, until barely rendered. Add the onion, celery, potatoes and garlic. Sauté for a minute or two until slightly soft. Drain off the bacon fat. Stir in the chicken stock, saffron and corn kernels. Bring the soup to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes start to thicken the soup. Skim off any fat, add the parsley, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To assemble: Ladle the soup into six bowls. Unmold the flans, placing each flan atop the soup. Serve immediately. Serves six.

Trick of the trade: The soup and flans can be made the day ahead, chilled, then reheated. (Add the parsley and salt and pepper before serving) Reheat flans in a water bath, then unmold into soup.

Oxtails used to be an item the butcher barely could give away. Now, however, it graces many menus. The best way to cook oxtails is to braise them until they fall off the bone.

Wine pairing: The long braising imparts a rich sweetness that is a nice match for a hearty shiraz – that’s what the Australians call their syrah wines.

6 pounds oxtails (see cook’s note)
2 cups flour
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons (divided)
4 medium sized carrots, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 onions, peeled, cut in 1-inch cubes
6 cloves garlic
1 celeriac root, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 stick cinnamon
1 clove
1/4 cup each rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and black peppercorns
1 quart veal stock
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Cook’s note: (When buying the oxtails, have the butcher remove excess fat and cut them through at every second joint, approximately every 2 inches.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dredge the oxtails in flour and salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Brown oxtails on all sides – do not overcrowd the pan; it may have to be done in batches. When finished, drain on paper towels and place oxtails in roasting pan.

Wipe out the oil from the skillet and add 2 tablespoons fresh olive oil. Saute the carrots, onions, garlic and celeraic until shiny and caramelized. Add them to the oxtails, along with the tomatoes, cinnamon, clove and fresh herbs.

Stir in the veal stock and 1 quart of water. The oxtails and vegetables need to be covered – if necessary, add more stock and water. Cover with foil and braise for approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

When done, remove the oxtails and place on a serving tray. Strain the liquid from the meat into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, skim off any fat and simmer, reducing the sauce by 30 percent. Add salt and pepper.

The sauce needs to be velvet in consistency and taste quite strong. If not, keep reducing until the desired flavor has been obtained. Ladle the sauce over the oxtails, and place in the oven at 150 degrees to be kept hot until the fries are done.

4 large Russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch strips
8 cups peanut oil
Kosher salt to taste

In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat the oil to 275 degrees.
Wash the potato strips in running cold water until the water runs clear, for about 10 minutes. (All starch must be removed to get the potatoes to fry crisply.) Place the potatoes on a towel and pat dry thoroughly.

Add the dried potatoes to the hot oil, blanching them for 6 to 8 minutes, until the potatoes are limp looking but not dark. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on brown paper bag. Drain for about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to 325 degrees and care fully add the potatoes to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crisp. Remove them from skillets and place onto a new brown paper bag or newspaper. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve with oxtails. Serves 6.

The day before:
The oxtails can be prepared the day ahead and reheated in the oven at 250 degrees covered with aluminum foil. The potatoes can be cut and washed and kept in the water.

Trick of the trade :
It’s imperative that all the starch has been washed from the potatoes; if not, they will become limp and dull when fried.

This recipe is a bit more demanding than a regular soufflé recipe , but it has many wonderful characteristics, including a soft and lush center. It can also make a beautiful presentation, served with hot fudge sauces, caramel, ice cream or fresh raspberries.

Wine pairing: Many people say no wine goes with chocolate. But they’re the people who have never tried a rich, powerful red port with it. This is the perfect recipe for that pairing.

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
2 ounces almond flour
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar, divided
6 6-ounce ramekins
Butter to coat the ramekins

Chocolate coating:
10 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup milk

Coat the ramekins with butter and set aside.

Roughly chop the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler over low heat. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat, approximately 2 to 3 minutes until the butter reaches a golden brown and smells nutty. Remove the saucepan from heat, and stir in the honey and milk.

Add the melted chocolate to the butter mixture. Separate the eggs, setting aside the egg whites. Add the yolks, two flours, and 1/4 cup of the sugar to the chocolate mixture, mixing well until all components have been absorbed.

Whip the egg whites, gradually adding 1/4 cup of the sugar, until medium peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mixture into the buttered ramekins, letting them cool for 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake the cakes at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. They need to be mushy on the inside but firm on the outside. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. When cool, unmold onto baking tray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Warm the milk in a small saucepan over moderate heat and gradually add it to the chocolate, stirring until thoroughly combined. Remove from heat. Cool until it reaches a thick saucy consistency. Using a small spatula, completely coat each of the cakes. With a large spatula, remove each cake from the baking tray and place them each on a serving plate. Serve immediately. Serves six.

Trick of the trade:
Always use the best chocolate and butter available.

The day ahead:
The chocolate coating can be done the day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. When reheating, heat gently over very soft heat. If it separates stir in a little water.

From TwoChefs Restaurant

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