Kielbasa and Potatoes For Dinner

I love food in a big, messy, multilayered way. I love how it can be art or engineering, I love how it can teach us about history of culture. But today I’m here to talk about how it can be comforting and satisfying, and how it can be those things without being difficult.

A lot of traditional comfort-food recipes, made well, are time-consuming, technical affairs. Humble mac and cheese takes a mornay sauce. Shepherd’s pie is nicest when it’s made with leftover stew, simmered for hours so the meat breaks down into succulent shreds. I don’t even want to get into korma or biryani.

This isn’t like that. It’s just a warm, robust, simple dish that I make all the time because it is a sheer pleasure to eat and so undemanding to make. The biggest effort here is locating a kielbasa. We call it “kielbasa and potatoes,” but I suppose there is also broccoli.

I know this is a long-looking recipe, but it’s a very easy method. I’m just making an effort to be detailed about sensory landmarks and why we’re doing things the way we are. If you follow the directions exactly, you’ll be doing a lot of the prep while juggling a pot on the burner, but if you don’t like doing that, there’s no reason not to pre-cut everything before cooking.Read More »

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Mojo de Ajo is Delicious

I got this concept—a velvety smooth sauce flavored with roasted garlic—from colonist cooking luminary Rick Bayless, but all the versions of this recipe on the Web are for enormous amounts of servings and it’s so unnecessary. Here’s a version that serves one or two.

Take like half a head of garlic and separate the cloves. Don’t peel them, but take off any loose papery skin.

Slowly fry the garlic in a small pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. You want the temperature kind of low so you don’t burn anything; just let them sit there for a good long time, stirring now and then, until the garlic becomes soft and mushy in its skin.

When they’re soft, pour the oil into a blender jar and peel the garlic, then put that in the jar too. Salt generously. Blend it for a while, and when it stops getting any smoother add maybe half a cup of liquid. I use chicken stock, usually, but use whatever’s handy and it’ll be fine, even water works.

Blend it some more, heat it up in your pan a little, and pour it on everything or cook everything in it.