Guess what Comfort Food Recipes 2015 is all about?
Not necessarily all about giving up sugar or eating strange-sounding grains or drinking smoothies that look like mashed up soggy grass like nearly all the foodie mags are telling us to do right now! Not that there is anything wrong with wanting to eat healthier, but just at this time of year, after the euphoria of Christmas and a hectic New Year, I have a strong yearning for Comfort Food that both looks stunningly attractive, tastes brilliant and maybe isn’t (too) overloaded with calories.
So in my mind, this next recipe ticks all those boxes. You can add or take away any of the ingredients, and adjust the calories by your choice of what to eat with it. Have a look and see what you think.
Honeyed Winter Salad Recipe
This Honeyed Winter Salad recipe, courtesy of Good Food, is a brilliant one for this time of year, with the earthy root vegetables just warm. I wanted to add the salad potatoes and chorizo as a sort of Patatos Bravas, so after I put the roasting dish and vegetables into the oven for the first time, I then sliced the chorizo and gently let it fry in a small frying pan until the coloured oils oozed out of it. Next I sliced the potatoes and put them in the same pan, with a sprinkling of Ras al hanout, the Moroccan seasoning. I let the potatoes take on a bit of colour, then I put the pan of the chorizo and potatoes into the oven, turning the slices over once or twice. By the time the main vegetables were softened, the potatoes were golden and ready. So I added the potato and chorizo mix to the top of the winter salad, and it tasted great.
- 1 Butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin wedges
- 2 red onions,peeled and halved and cut into wedges
- 4 parsnips, peeled and cut into wedges
- 3 tbsp olive oil (try garlic or basil infused)
- 1 - 2 tbsp clear honey (but I used Pomegranate Molasses)
- 1 small ciabatta, roughly torn into pieces
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional)
- 225g bag leaf spinach
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 6 medium salad potatoes
- Ras al hanout seasoning
- If using the potatoes, wash, leave skins on and bring to the boil - let simmer fast for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Heat oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
- Put the other vegetables into a large roasting tin, and drizzle with half the oil and season to taste.
- Roast for 20- 25 mins, turning once in a while until softened.
- Take the roasting dish out of the oven and drizzle with the honey (or Pomegranate Molasses). Scatter the torn pieces of ciabatta and the sunflower seeds over the vegetables and return to the oven for a further 5 - 10 mins until the bread is gently golden.
- Put the baby spinach into a large bowl or platter and tip the vegetable and bread mix over as evenly as possible.
- Whisk the vinegar, mustard and remaining oil together, season to taste and toss into the salad until the spinach wilts slightly. Serve immediately.
I always tend to read the reviews of recipes, and this Comfort Food recipe had more brilliant reviews than I have seen before. It appears that Honeyed Winter Salad goes well with most foods – the ones chosen by the reviewers being whole baked fish, shallot tarte tatin, crispy skinned duck or chicken, goats cheese, Feta cheese and even Halloumi cheese. Next time I make this, I think that I will make ciabatta crunchy croutons instead of just the bread, which went a bit hard in the oven. To do this, put a decent dollop of olive oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan, then add the torn ciabatta bit-sized chunks. Cover them as evenly as possible in the oil/butter mix and turn over once or twice until golden and slightly crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. These can be made days ahead if kept in air-tight containers. For this salad, throw the croutons into the oven on top of the vegetable mix for the last 5 minutes. I also would love to try the Winter Salad with thin slivers of cooked chicken or turkey at Christmas, and for a bit of a luxury meal, with thin slices of rare Fillet steak. I bet that would taste fabulous. I wonder what else it would go well with. But Erik and myself really enjoyed it last night, with the Spanish/Moroccan flavour. A first perfect comfort food recipe for 2015.