Paul Flynn: Three comfort food dishes that are perfect after a long day
Satisfying pork chops, a risotto to transport you to the Med and handy jerk potatoes
Pork rack chops, sticky shallots, sage and cheddar mash. Photograph: Patrick Browne
There’s a palpable tension in the office as I’m finalising this week’s column. My wife, who I sometimes fondly refer to as Chairman Mao, is not a happy camper. She is my in-house editor. The content of this column doesn’t usually bother her. Today, however, there is a seething silence.
You might remember a Tom Hanks film called the Money Pit? It turns out that I’m the owner of a four-wheeled version of that house – my 1994 camper van. To be fair, I didn’t pay a lot for it.
So far it has been seen by four mechanics, but when I brought it to a specialist a number of weeks ago for a little exterior sprucing up, there was a lot of sighing and groaning. It was not a good prognosis. Words like “cut your losses” are not what a fella wants to hear when he’s only spent one night in 20 months in his lifelong dream.
My thoughts turn to food once more for a bit of comfort.
The first recipe today is a bit of a dinner. The chop is big. On-the-bone is always best, but this one is a whopper. It doesn’t necessarily sing of summer, but it will satisfy you after a long day, with a glass of red.
The fennel risotto, on the other hand, will instantly transport you to the Mediterranean. I’m a massive fan of fennel, having been converted while making soupe de poisson in Chez Nico in London all those years ago. These days I pair it with all manner of fish but also with lamb or creamy goat’s cheese. At its best, it is a thing of beauty that zings of freshness, but beware, its particular green gives way to a sad telltale brown in no time at all.
These spuds are handy little fellas. If you can’t find jerk seasoning, use cajun or taco spices. The flavour works with the crispy bacon, butterhead lettuce and chive-laden sour cream. This salad would also be lovely as an accompaniment to steak.