Comfort foods. I’m guessing that those two words instantly brought the picture or aroma of at least one food to your mind, didn’t it?
Images of meat loaf, mac n’ cheese, fried chicken or a nice savory soup are common. For others sweet treats like cake, pie or ice cream will come to mind.
When a person has a cold a common comfort food is chicken soup. Heck this comfort food is so well accepted that motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson started an inspirational series of self-help books beginning with the famous “Chicken Soup For The Soul”. The series now has more than 250 books all beginning with “Chicken Soup for the…” in the title!
When the chips are down, sometimes you just need a food that eases a fragile psyche. Comfort foods are alleged to give us a sense of serenity or links us to a fond reminiscent memory.
When researching the topic, I found an article from *Scientific American that discusses a series of case studies attempting to verify if humans will choose familiar foods over unfamiliar foods when experiencing lows, highs or random changes in their personal life. Participants were given the option to choose a familiar chip brand or an unfamiliar chip brand. The Results didn’t show a significant tendency of participants to migrate towards the familiar regardless of circumstance.
My initial response is…so what? Chips, regardless of brand, is not high on my list of comfort foods. If I’m down and you show me two bags of chips, I might consume both bags and probably washing them down with some beer. Then…it’s time to fire up the stock pot and stew a nice warm batch of soup!
We have several go to comfort foods at our house. Most anything that Beth makes in her Instant Pot, from yogurt to a plethora of chicken dishes. My personal favorite from Beth is Tortellini Soup.
Two favorite dishes that R Dub makes are my almost world-famous chili which we featured a few weeks ago and a dish we call Coca-Cola Pot Roast. Slow cooked to a fall apart tenderness with a savory Coke infused gravy that is smothered in potatoes and carrots that were also slow cooked in the sweet and savory Coca-Cola sauce.
We prefer beef chuck, but you can substitute any low-end beef like round or brisket. Pork shoulder or rump is an alternative, but I have been less impressed with the results. Many ask me if they can cook this in a crock pot, and the answer is yes, but again the oven method listed below in my opinion produces a better taste and texture.
Yes, I know I’ve pictured my pot roast in a crock, but it was oven cooked in a roasting pan, then transferred to the crock pot so Beth could enjoy some when she returned home from work.
Experimenting with recipes is encouraged here, so do what brings you joy! At the end of the cooking cycle, the only thing that matters is how the meal is received by your culinary taste and diners.
Variations of this recipe can be found in many cookbooks, but here is the recipe that we use:
2 lbs Beef Chuck Roast
1 lb Carrots Sliced
1lb Potatoes Quartered
1 Package Brown Gravy Mix
2 Tsp Water
1 Package Onion Soup or Dip Mix
10.5 oz Cream of Mushroom Soup
10 oz Coca Cola
Preheat oven to 350 degree F
Place roast and vegetables in a 13” roasting pan
In a large mixing bowl combine the brown gravy mix and water, mix until it is a slurry.
Add onion soup/dip mix to slurry and mix until moist.
Stir in cream of mushroom soup mix.
Stir in Coke.
Cover roast and veggies with Coke mix in roasting pan cover pan with aluminum foil and lid, place in preheated oven for 60 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees F and bake an additional 3 hours.
*D’Costa, K. (2017). Understanding the Power of Comfort Foods. Scientific American. August 30, 2017.