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  • Writer's pictureAnnamarie Stedjan

Comfort Food... Oh the Joy It Brings!

For me, there is nothing quite as comforting as a soft cozy sweater, a hot cup of coffee and a crisp morning breeze. Autumn has always been my favorite season, for as long as I could remember. Watching the leaves turn vibrant colors during the daylight hours, peering at the harvest moon at night in awe, and smelling the winds of change in the air. Doesn't get much better than that! I was one of those geeks that loved the beginning of the school year too... organizing my folders, labeling my notebooks and sharpening my pencils. Nowadays, I organize my pantry, label my spices and sharpen my knives. The winds of change still get me, but they guide me into the kitchen where I trade the grill for the oven and the light fare of Summer for some rich buttery flavors of Fall. I'm dedicating this food journal entry to comfort food and the joy it brings!

If you are reading this and are about to stop because comfort food is too rich, or too fatty ... don't turn away just yet! This first recipe is lean, mean and seriously comforting. We can't go through a Fall and Winter season in our house without some chili, but in this recipe, I swap out the protein from rich ground beef for a leaner ground turkey (but not turkey is just too dry) and bump up the traditional chili flavor with some earthy spiciness from ground cumin. This recipe was featured in one of FoodTalk Daily's weekly emails recently and was received really well by our community of foodies. I'm super excited to continue to be a contributor on FoodTalk Daily.

Check out this delicious lightened up but still super hearty Turkey Chili recipe for some good comfort this coming season and warm up from the inside out. After you taste this one, you may never go back to beef.

Comfort food season wouldn't be fulfilled without a hearty soup simmering on the stove and my Chicken Vegetable Miso Soup is literally a one pot meal, not just because everything is made in the same pot but it is filled with vegetables and protein and packed with flavor with an Asian flare. One bowl of this soup and you will be full and filled with comfort to boot.

I like to use chicken thighs in this recipe. I think it give the soup a little touch of richness and silkiness. If you are not a dark meat or thigh fan, you are more than welcome to swap the thighs out from some chicken breast. I love the texture differences from combining shredded cabbage and baby boy choy with earthy and meaty shiitake mushrooms. There is also a kick of heat from a splash of sriracha. If you are not a spice fan you can certainly omit the sriracha. The soup is still fantastic!

I will never forget the time I went to this little bistro in Nyack for lunch when I was finalizing my wedding plans. It was a sunny yet crisp September day and I decided to eat out on the patio. I had the most delicious cup of Potato Leek Soup ...ever!! It was creamy without being bogged down with cream, and perfectly seasoned. After I left the restaurant I vowed to myself that I needed to try and recreate this soup. I'm sad to say that the restaurant is not longer in business, but I think I've done the soup justice.

The ingredient that makes all the difference in this soup is celery salt. I know it is not a staple in many people's spice cabinet, but it is definitely worth the purchase. Not only can you use it in this soup, or really to season any soup base, but it is also an amazing spice addition to cocktail sauce. The next time you make shrimp cocktail, swap out the kosher salt for celery salt.... I promise, you won't be disappointed. I like to use all purpose white potatoes. If you can't find white potatoes, all purpose yellow potatoes work as well.

The layers of flavor in the base that include, finely chopped carrot, shallots, dry white wine, celery salt and garlic give this soup a deliciously unique flavor. I like to top it off with some fresh chives, but some crispy pancetta would probably taste amazing too!! If you are going all veg and don't have chives on hand, a sprinkle of paprika is a delicious additional as well.

I hope you get to try some of these comforting recipes this Fall and Winter season and I hope they are just as loved in your home as they are in mine.

From my kitchen to yours.



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