There seems to be a lot of talk these days about "comfort food". Cookbooks are published on the subject, restaurants featuring it are opening with great frequency and the Food Network seems to run shows about it on a continual basis. But I must admit, I have no one food that screams "comfort" to me. My mom has always been an avid, creative cook, which meant that there wasn't a lot of culinary repetition in our house growing up, so I never had the chance to get attached to any one dish (other than warm milk with honey and nutmeg, which to this day I adore). Comfort food to me is just anything that is good and plentiful.
Paul, on the other hand, is VERY attached to certain dishes, probably a result of growing up in country where Sunday roast lunches (the menus of which are relatively consistent) are considered an event. His two great loves (other than me...I hope) are anything Indian and roast chicken. When he first found out that I could cook, he began lobbying for roast chicken, just like his "mum's". Lucky for me, it's just about the easiest thing in the world to make.
1 chicken, 3-4 lbs.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove gizzard package from chicken cavity, and rinse the chicken under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle kosher salt in chicken cavity. Cut lemon in quarters and put as much of it as fits in the chicken cavity, and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Drizzle olive oil on the chicken and rub it all over. Place the chicken breast up in a roasting pan, tuck the wingtips under, and strew kosher salt over the top of the chicken. You're always free to use pepper as well, but I prefer it without. Roast for approximately an hour (I'm told technically it should be 15 minutes per pound plus 10 minutes), until a knife prick in the thigh yield clear juices. Let rest for ten minutes, and then carve.
1/4 c. white wine
one pan in which a chicken was recently roasted
If the chicken produced a lot of fat, pour off all but a couple of tablespoons. Put the pan over medium heat, then pour in white wine. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen the delicious chicken bits, then simmer for a few minutes to concentrate the flavor.
I also like to serve some roast vegetables and garden peas (just like mum's) with the chicken. Again, easiest thing in the world.
enough carrots, potatoes, etc. to serve whoever you're feeding
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (if you're cooking this in the same oven as the chicken that's fine, 400 degrees works as well). Cut vegetables into 1-in pieces and put in roasting pan. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over the top, sprinkle with kosher salt and a bit of pepper. Then toss with your hands to coat, and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
one package of frozen petit pois
1 Tablespoon of butter
2 Tablespoons of fresh mint, finely chopped
Melt butter over medium heat. Add peas (still frozen) and toss with butter. Let cook for a couple of minutes, until peas are warmed through. Add mint and, if using unsalted butter, a pinch of kosher or Maldon salt. Cook for another 30 seconds - 1 minute and serve.