The past couple of weeks have been hectic to say the least. We finally moved into our new house (yey!) and managed to get all of our boxes at least half unpacked before the new academic term really ramped up. Then, of course, our lives turned back to grading reports, teaching, and trying to squeeze in our own research where ever we could.
But among the madness there was a moment of calm. Last week, on a particularly chilly Friday, I was working from home and was yearning for something comforting to eat. I’m a strong believer that real comfort food is food that takes it’s time. Food that sputters away slowly for hours on the stove filling your home with delicious aromas. Food that is worth the wait.
When I was back in the UK last Thanksgiving, I spent a good deal of time catching up with all my beloved British ‘TV chefs’, and was particularly drawn to Nigel Slater’s pork rib ragu. So simple it could barely be considered ‘cooking’ at all: pork ribs, onion, celery, carrot, and stock. That’s it. Oh, and time. A good three hours of it. Mounded on some pappardelle, a more comforting dish you could not find. So that is what I made that Friday. You can find the recipe here.
Another wonderful thing about comfort food is that there are always bountiful leftovers. Leftover pork ragu almost begs to be gently enveloped in a case of shortcrust (equal quantities AP and butter, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of cold water) and transformed into a golden, bubbling pie. This (sort of) pork pie – and I say “(sort of)” because it is not a pork pie in the traditional British sense, but rather a pie with pork – was first meant to be two individual pies, but a slight misjudgment on the quantity of pastry led to the rather ample pie for two pictured here.
The resulting meal, an economical homemade pie paired with simple boiled potatoes and broccoli, was more reminiscent of my childhood dinner plate than anything I had eaten in some time. And could there be anything more comforting than that?