Food + Wine

Comfort with a twist

There is not one thing wrong with simple comfort food.  I grew up on it.  I still make it.  Everyone loves a plate of well made, simply good food that reminds them of childhood.  And the one simple, home-cooked meal that defines my childhood would have to be my mom’s roast chicken with buttered white rice and curried carrots.  It was nothing fancy, but it was a big fat hug on a plate.I requested it every year for my birthday dinner and still have cravings for it.  I make a roast chicken for my family every single week and I love it, so does my family, but I could never remake that meal mom made me.  I wouldn’t want to.

Some things moms just do better and should never be touched.
But I did make this last night when I was thinking about my mama and that meal.  It’s still deliciously comforting, and different enough that it doesn’t compete with my memories.  I did my roast chicken the way I always do (check out my method HERE– it’s so simple and amazing) and served it with carrots that I slow roasted whole, then sprinkled with fresh mint, and farro (my favorite grain) cooked in chicken broth and finished with a little butter.  Then I made a cheese-less pesto with the carrot tops and served it over the chicken.It’s a great meal.  It’s a pretty meal.  It’s even a simple meal.And it’s a comforting meal because it makes me think of mama.

 

ROAST CHICKEN W/ BUTTERED FARRO 
AND SLOW ROASTED CARROTS WITH MINT
Slow Roasted Whole Carrots

 

carrots. oil. salt. sugar.
that’s all

I made a ton of these because I had so many and figured I could use the leftovers for another meal later in the week.  But the recipe doesn’t change if you make a few… or a ton.

Slice off all but the very ends of the carrot tops, reserve for the pesto. Thoroughly wash and scrub your whole carrots and dry.  Place on an oiled cookie sheet/s and cover with more oil so they’re all coated.  Season well with kosher salt and a smaller amount of raw sugar.

Roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 1/2-2 hours (shaking the pans about halfway through), or until they’re a little wrinkly on the outside, golden brown, fork tender and amazing.

 

Carrot Top Pesto

 

 

(I had a big, fat handful of carrot top leaves but if you didn’t cook that many carrots and don’t have that much- supplement with parsley.  The flavor is very similar.)
In a small food processor, throw in the following…
large handful of carrot top leaves (with parsley to bulk it up if necessary)
1 clove raw garlic
a small handful of cashews– maybe a few TB worth (pinenuts could be used but cashews are cheaper and have a similar buttery flavor)
fat pinch kosher salt
zest of 1 lemon 
juice of that lemon
fat glug or two of extra virgin olive oil (may need to add more)
Pulse until a paste forms, adding more oil if necessary to make it spoonable.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

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