Yotam Ottolenghi’s New Year’s Comfort Food Recipes | food

wWe made it through another year – well done! There are so many ways to explore 2022, but whether you’re dressed to party or slippers to cosy, the weeks ahead require just one thing from the kitchen: comfort food. What that means is different things to different people, but there’s often just something about its texture that just hits the spot: flaky, whole-butter puff pastry, a warm sponge, quilt-like polenta, soft plums, melted cheese…these are just some of the Ways I’ll feel good about food in the new year, and I hope you will, too. Here until 2023.

Chicken, plum and split pea pie (photo above)

This is inspired by KhoreshAn Iranian soup that is as festive as it is comforting. They make a great centerpiece and you don’t need more than a green salad on the side. If you like, assemble the pie the night before, so it’s oven-ready.

to equip 20 minutes
cook 1 hour 15 minutes
serves 6

100 grams of yellow peasSoak in hot water for 10 minutes, then strain
30 grams of red lentils
3 pieces of black lemon
Each is gently pierced 3 times with the tip of a sharp knife
1 x 325 grams of prepared butter dough
1 eggto beat
1 teaspoon of nigella seeds
2 onions
Peeled and finely chopped (365 grams)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea salt is fine
1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Cut into 4 cm pieces
½ teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper
Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half a teaspoon ground cardamom
Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
3 tablespoons of plain flour
55 ml of apple cider vinegar
20 grams of coriander
finely chopped
200 grams of plumCut into approximately 6 pieces

Place the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan with 850ml of water, bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 35 minutes, until the peas are tender but still hold their shape. Squeeze the limes against the side of the pan to get as much of the liquid out as possible, then remove and discard the skin.

Roll out the dough, roll it out a little more to 23cm x 36cm, brush it with half an egg and cut it crosswise into nine 5cm wide strips. Sprinkle the nigella seeds, then place them on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate.

Put the onion, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until slightly caramelized. Stir in the chicken and another 1 teaspoon of the salt, and cook until the chicken is opaque, then add the spices and flour and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Preheat oven to 200°C (fan 180°C)/390°F/gas 6. Stir lentil and pea mixture with cooking liquid into chicken skillet, then add vinegar, cilantro and prunes, and remove from heat. Pour into an oven tray measuring 30 cm x 20 cm and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Brush remaining egg around rim of baking dish, then place five pastry strips diagonally across dish, leaving a 1-cm gap between them; Pinch the edges of the pancake on the egg-washed side of the dish until they stick. Place the remaining 4 strips of pastry diagonally across the top in the opposite direction, making a criss-cross pattern and again 1cm apart, then bake for 35 minutes, until the pastries are golden.

Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes, then serve it warm.

Apple and pear pudding with vanilla cream

The dream combination: Utam Ottolenghi apple and pear pudding with vanilla cream.

The warm pudding/cool vanilla cream combo works like a dream here, but custard or ice cream will work just as well, if you prefer.

to equip 25 minutes
cook 1 hour 20 minutes
serves 6

fruit filling
75 grams of caster sugar
75 grams of unsalted butter, refrigerated and cold
Cut into cubes
2 tablespoons of sherry or red wine vinegar
1 lemonfinely grated, to get 1 tsp, and juice, to get 1 tbsp
4 Granny Smith apples (480g) peeled, halved, de-seeded and cut into 1cm thick slices
3 medium sized pears (480g) peeled, halved, de-seeded and cut into 1cm thick slices
Half a teaspoon of crushed star anise
15 green cardamom pods
pods, opened and finely ground in a mortar to 1 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon store-bought ground cardamom
Sea salt scrub

To prepare the cake mix
190 grams of caster sugar
190 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon of vanilla paste
130 grams of self-raising flour
60 grams of crushed almonds
1½ teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
30 grams of peeled almonds

To prepare the vanilla cream
300 ml double cream
1½ teaspoons of vanilla paste

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C) / 350°F / Gas 4, then start with the fruit filling. Put the sugar in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat and cook for three to five minutes, until it turns amber—resist the urge to stir, and instead move the pan so the sugar is evenly colored. Add the butter and stir until smooth, then raise the heat and stir in the vinegar, lemon juice, apples, pears, ground spices, and 1/2 teaspoon grated salt. Mix well and leave to cool.

Now for the mixture. Place the sugar, butter, and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed for seven to 10 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Meanwhile, mix lemon zest, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add a third of this and an egg yolk to the bowl of a stand mixer, then beat over medium heat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl again as needed. Repeat twice with remaining flour mixture and egg yolks.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and clean the blender bowl. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer, set on the whisk attachment and beat for two to three minutes, until they double in volume and form stiff peaks. Using a wooden spoon, mix one-fourth of the egg whites into the batter bowl, then gently add the rest, being careful not to expel air. Pour the mixture over the skillet with the apple-pear mixture, sprinkle the blanched almonds on top, and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool and rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the cream and vanilla in a bowl and mix gently until well combined. Serve the pudding warm, with the cream on the side.

Butternut squash polenta with rosemary chili oil

Yotam otolengi of polenta and butternut squash with rosemary oil.
Hug in a Bowl: Utam Ottolenghi of polenta with rosemary oil and chili pepper.

Polenta, this Italian pantry staple, is a wonderful comforting side dish but can also be the star of a meal. If you prefer, substitute the acorns for any other butternut squash or butternut squash.

to equip 25 minutes
cook 30 minutes
serves 4

500 grams of butternut squashPeeled, trimmed and cut into 3cm (400g) pieces
5 garlic clovespeeled
1 tablespoon of olive oil
250 ml chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and black pepper
80 grams of cream cheese

50 grams of Parmesan cheesefinely grated, plus more to finish
100 grams of coarse polenta
30 grams of unsalted butter

for fried squash
200 grams of butternut squashPeeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 tablespoon of olive oilplus an additional ½ tbsp
Half a teaspoon of maple syrup
Half a teaspoon of lemon juice
10 grams
parsley leaves;finely chopped

For rosemary oil and hot pepper
1 tablespoon of olive oil
50 grams of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon Kashmiri pepper
2 teaspoons of Aleppo pepper

First, cook the squash to make polenta. Place the squash, garlic, and olive oil in a medium skillet with a lid and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, for seven to nine minutes, until the squash begins to soften and some of its juices begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, 250ml water, ½ teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper, bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for about seven minutes, until the squash is tender and beginning to break apart at the edges. Remove from heat, add cream cheese and Parmesan, then blend smooth with a stick blender.

Place the skillet back over medium heat and slowly pour in the polenta, whisking quickly as you do so. Cook for eight minutes, whisking constantly to get rid of any lumps and to stop the mixture from sticking to the base of the pan, until the polenta has thickened, then remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Cover surface of polenta mixture with a circle of greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming, then set aside.

Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, the remaining squash, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper and cook for seven to eight minutes, until lightly nutty at the edges and softened. Add maple syrup and set aside for five minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, make the chili oil. Put the oil and butter in a small skillet over medium heat, and once it’s melted and heated through, stir in the rosemary and simmer for 30 seconds until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in Kashmiri and paprika with a pinch of salt, then set aside to marinate briefly.

Lift the sheet off the top of the polenta, then spoon it into a covered lip-covered dish. Mix the sautéed squash with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil, the lemon juice, and the parsley and spread over it. Drizzle chili oil on top, sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan and serve hot.

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