Monday, October 31, 2011

Shortcuts to Comfort Food

Seems like all I’ve been talking about lately is comfort food. It is almost November after all, and although California isn’t accommodating my desire for roaring fires, fuzzy socks and thick blankets, I’m more than ready. Come on, winter…or at least fall.

When I think comfort food, I think the standards: roasts, soups, and stews. These dishes make me feel warm and cozy. They’re the kind of foods you want when you’re feeling down, knowing they’ll lift your mood and you’ll feel better after eating. They’re usually associated with memories of home-cooked meals, aromas wafting through the house teasing you for hours while slowly cooking. But sometimes you just don’t have hours to roast and simmer…

I got to thinking about making comfort food on the quick when Foodbuzz, partnered with Electrolux, asked for comfort food recipes to help promote their campaign to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. I’m a big believer in doing little things that make a big difference, and here’s another chance: Click here to visit the Kelly Confidential website to check out comfort food favorites. Each time you do, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. That’s easy, right? And it only takes a second.

Now, back to this shortcut to comfort food business. Pot roast is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think comfort food. I remember my mom making pot roast and vegetables in a plastic roasting bag in the oven. Aside from the fact that I can’t even begin to understand how that plastic didn’t melt after several hours in a very hot oven, I loved that meal. The tender meat, the roasted root vegetables, the resulting gravy; it makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

So naturally, that’s the meal I chose to remake. Here’s my shortcut to a comforting pot roast meal…

Shortcut Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables and Pan Sauce 

Serves 4

Roasted Vegetables:
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
12 ounces carrots, cut into 1/2” pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1” pieces
2 large shallots, cut into 1/2” pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds boneless steaks (I used 1 pound New York steaks)
canola oil

Pan Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter, divided use
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth

For the vegetables: In a large heavy bottomed pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add all vegetables, salt and pepper. Stir to coat with butter. Cover and roast for about 20 minutes until tender, shaking the pot and stirring occasionally so vegetables do not stick on the bottom of the pot.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Coat steaks very lightly in canola oil, then season both sides with salt and pepper. When pan is hot, cook steaks for about 4 minutes per side. (For 1” thick steaks, 4 minutes per side is medium-rare. Adjust cooking times accordingly for more or less done.) Remove steaks and reserve. (To keep warm, cover in foil or put in a 200 degree oven.)

Into the same cast iron pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add garlic. Cook garlic quickly, then pour in red wine. Let simmer and reduce for about 2 minutes. Add beef broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring liquid to a simmer and let reduce about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. When finished, whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and heat through.

Cut steaks into thick slices and serve with vegetables and sauce.

So there it is…comfort food in thirty minutes with all the components and flavors in a fraction of the time. The meat is tender, the vegetables are buttery and the “gravy” pulls it all together. And even though this meal was only actually cooking for about twenty minutes, the house still smelled fantastic. 

And since it’s Halloween, I’ll leave you with this:

"I'm only just tolerating this since you feed me."

I know, I know…it’s so typical to dress up a wiener dog as a hot dog, but you have to admit it’s pretty darn cute.

Happy Halloween.


  1. Great looking meal. I'd take comfort in that. Your dog looks cute. We have a little yorkie that we dressed up last year...I'll have to see if I can dig up some pics from that.

  2. What a great idea! I love pot roast but some night am just way too short on time to make it happen. Love the dog picture...

  3. Oh my, that looks delicious and just like what I've been craving in this cold weather and stressful time. Thanks for sharing! And awww to your hot dog! ;)

  4. Awesome pot roast! I can almost imagine the aroma of the steak and vegetables. Oh, and that's a cool dog!

  5. These pictures are making my mouth water. WE have true comfort food weather here right now, replete with a dusting of snow on the ground. Trick-or-treating with the kids tonight will mean bundling up in jackets over costumes! I'd love to come home to this meal...

  6. hahaha! You dog is cute! That dinner was beautiful! Thank you for the great post!

  7. Happy Halloween! If all the flavors are intact then this is a great find! And great cause too!

  8. post today also includes our costumed dog! And my youngest would really love me to give up my traditional post roast recipe...and make yours instead! He's not much of a chuck roast fan, but NY Strips are just fine :) Thanks for sharing~

  9. That is the kind of meal I can eat everyday. Love how juicy the steak looks.

  10. YUM!! That beef looks so juicy and delicious. This has inspired me to finally cook my 3 lb tri-tip in my freezer! Looks delicious!

  11. yum! this is definitely right up my alley. and thanks for humoring me w the the hot dog :)

  12. Next year you can dress him up as a Yellow Submarine. I wish it would cool off down here so I could get into the comfort food mode. Your shortcut pot roast looks so good!

  13. this post gave me instant comfort, especially that gravy laden steak pic...
    happy halloween and yes definitely a "weiner" look haha

  14. This looks delicious and a TERRIFIC comfort food!

  15. looks so good :-) and great to see your profile picture :-)

  16. Brilliant! I pretty much never have time to slowly, lovingly simmer and stir. This is a great way to get that yummy dish without all the hassle :)

    And your dog is gadorable :)

  17. Karen - this looks awesome. And the dog....I almost spit coffee on my monitor as I was scrolling along. :) Great post.


  18. This is just stunning. And quick. I am so impressed and over the moon for this one.

  19. That is soooo beautiful and making my tummy rumble, my husband will not eat anything that the meat and veggies are cooked together....but I WILL!

  20. This meal looks fabulous Karen!!! My mom used to always make pot roast and now after seeing this I have a serious craving! Very nice!