Comfort Food

After my last post, I figured it might be good to follow up with something comforting.  And what’s more comforting than a favorite meal or food?  Every fall/winter I seem to find a different rendition of a chicken stew or something similar that becomes my obsession for the season.  They’re all so similar that even if I decided to make two different recipes in a short time period, it wouldn’t really seem like I was changing things up at all.  They all have your basics: poultry, onions, carrots, celery, some kind of thick, creamy broth, and a biscuit or pastry.  Everything that just screams comfort!

One year my obsession was Bobby Flay’s turkey pot pie with sage crust.  It’s your basic pot pie but the sage in the crust combined with the turkey breast really elevates it.  I used to easily be able to make two at once and freeze the second for another night (sometimes that same week)!  I’ve had years of experimentation with different chicken noodle soup recipes, and Ina Garten’s chicken stew with biscuits on top is super scrumptious.

This year I’m extremely into Ree Drummond’s chicken and dumplings.  It’s only December and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made it since October.  I love how the dumplings puff up as soon as they enter the simmering broth.  There’s nothing like a hot bowl of this stew to warm you right up on a cold night!  Randy says it’s his favorite, but I called him out the other night on saying that almost every night at dinner, so he obviously can’t be trusted. 😉

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How comforting does this bowl look?!  This was a night Randy came home late from work and we took our bowls into the living room and enjoyed dinner for 2 by the light of the Christmas tree.  (There are some perks to his working late…) 😉

Another comforting recipe I have is my pepparkakor cookies, which essentially are Swedish gingerbread cookies.  The word “pepparkakor” literally means pepper cake.  There’s a Swedish “legend” that goes with the cookies, too.  Think of a secret wish and hold the pepparkakor in your hand.  With your opposing finger, press down in the center of the cookie.  If it breaks into 3 pieces exactly, your wish will come true!  I used to do this with my Morfar (Swedish for mother’s father) all the time as a little girl.  Unfortunately, my cookies always come out a little too thick to break them easily with a single finger, but they taste delicious!  I must say that my favorite part of these cookies is the way the house smells when I make them.  It’s spicy, sweet, and warm, and reminds me of my grandparents.  If you like gingerbread but don’t care for the time it takes to ice them into little people, give this recipe a try!  We don’t have time to make gingerbread cookies before Christmas this year like I planned, but we may still make them after.  Until then, I have a whole tin of pepparkakors that we will enjoy! 🙂  Here’s the recipe, the printable is at the bottom…

Merry Christmas!

Ingredients

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Here is a plate of my pepparkakors with a Vietnamese cardamom latte!  Yes, those are orange peels in my coffee carafe.  The latte is delicious!  Part of the Ninja recipe book.
  •     2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  •     2/3 cup molasses
  •     1 teaspoon ground ginger
  •     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •     1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  •     3/4 tablespoon baking soda
  •     2/3 cup butter
  •     1 egg
  •     3 1/2 cups sifted flour
  1. Place butter in a large, heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat brown sugar, molasses and spices just to boiling point. Add baking soda and stir in. Pour this mixture over the butter and stir until it melts.
  2. Beat egg and mix in; add flour, a cup at a time, and blend thoroughly. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead 1-2 minutes. Wrap in waxed paper and chill until firm (about an hour).
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. Roll out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured board and cut into desired shapes. Place on greased baking sheets and bake for 8 – 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from sheets and cool on racks.

Here’s the handy, dandy printable! pepparkakor-cookies

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