Comfort Food Recipes

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Stuffing “Falafel” Pitas with Tahini Gravy

Leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes get a new lease on life in these crispy, sesame-studded, falafel-like patties from Chef Zoë Kanan. “I was inspired by the overstuffed, colorful, and briny pitas of Tel Aviv,” Kanan says of this next-level Thanksgiving sandwich. “The key here is introducing crunch to the sandwich. Use my recipe as a guide, and riff by including whatever textural ingredients you have around, like fried onions, sunflower seeds, or even wasabi peas.” She tucks the patties into pitas with crunchy pickled onions and drizzle of tahini-bolstered gravy for the ultimate Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. Tahini brands can vary in thickness; thin with a splash of warm water or broth, if needed.

Jerk Chicken Pizza

Whether you choose to make your own dough (which Nicole Russell, founder of Last Dragon Pizza in Far Rockaway, Queens, highly recommends) or buy it from the store, this “Kiss Mi Converse” pizza is destined for greatness. A homemade jerk marinade inspired by Russell’s Jamaican family takes center stage, giving rich flavor to the chicken topping, while the black olives, yellow peppers, and crossed scallion greens aren’t just delicious—they’re a salute to the Jamaican flag. You’ll have some extra jerk marinade left over from this recipe—it’s terrific for smoked or grilled chicken.

Mini Deviled Crab Cornbread Muffins

At his dinner parties in Harlem, chef and cookbook author Alexander Smalls pairs creamy, slightly spicy, fresh deviled crab with tender corn muffins, barely sweetened with brown sugar and studded with corn kernels, for a quick one-bite appetizer. Choose fresh crab over pasteurized for the best flavor.

Potée Champenoise des Vendanges (Grape Pickers Potée)

A traditional dish of simmered pork, beans, and vegetables celebrates the end of the Champagne harvest at a Cochelet feast. The generous pot produces an platter of tender meat and vegetables; serve the strained broth in cups with baguette for dunking. Blanching the cabbage with aromatics and fresh herbs renders it soft and tender, infuses it with flavor, and brings out its sweetness. Piquant mustard and horeradish make the perfect condiments to brighten and heighten the long-cooked flavors in this stew, which was served at Château de la Marquetterie, the monumental Taittinger estate in the Champagne region.

More Comfort Food

Ratatouille Slab Pie

A crisp and sturdy crust transforms the French classic into a grab-and-go hero. Preheating the baking stone is essential to this recipe; it ensures the bottom of this slab pie is crispy and retains its texture for several hours after baking. A beautiful lattice top encases vibrant summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes, and fresh herbs in this vegetarian showstopper. Precooking the vegetables releases their excess moisture and deeply concentrates their flavor.

Grandma Pie Pizza

Unlike a thin-crust Neapolitan-style pie, the thick, deliciously chewy crust of a classic grandma pie is easy to pull off at home. All you need is a sturdy, standard “half-sheet” rimmed baking sheet (steer clear of cookie sheets, which are smaller and less sturdy). Don’t stint on the oil for the pan—it helps create a gloriously crispy, golden crust. Spread with an oregano-spiked tomato sauce and topped with plenty of part-skim (not fresh!) mozzarella, this recipe delivers an old-school pizzeria experience at home.Related: More Pizza Recipes

Birria Tacos

A combination of two meats creates the best balance of tender texture (from the chuck roast) and succulence (from the short ribs). Each taco gets slow-cooked flavor from the adobo sauce.