Photo: Alison Gootee

Photo: Alison Gootee

Here's my definition of comfort food: any dish that, at first whiff, makes me want to sprawl out on the couch (while diving into a heaping helping, obviously). Comfort food doesn't demand much; it just has to make you feel good. Often it means more than just deliciousness—when I'm at my mum's house and I smell her shepherd's pie, I know I'm home.

I've established some comfort food traditions in my own house, too. If I put onions, tomatilloes, and jalapeños on the stove to simmer, my wife, Lindsay, knows I'm making chili verde, which is about as soothing a dish as you could hope to find. (It's topped off with tangy queso fresco and buttery avocado, so it's pretty hard to beat in the sofa-food category.) Pair it with my cornbread—made with fragrant olive oil in place of butter—and you're set for dinner. And you can't talk comfort food without mentioning dessert. I like to make a grown-up version of chocolate pudding, laced with sweet Marsala wine and enriched with crème fraîche.

The cozy setting and yummy dishes are just two parts of the comfort food experience. Turning on the game, reading a book, or, best of all, hanging out with family completes the picture. After all, I like chili and chocolate as much as the next person—but nothing is more comforting than being with the people I love most.
Photo: Alison Gootee

Photo: Alison Gootee

Chicken Chile Verde Recipe
Kick back with this spicy dish, topped with tangy queso fresco and buttery avocado.

Get the recipe: Chicken Chili Verde Recipe
Photo: Alison Gootee

Photo: Alison Gootee

Olive Oil Cornbread Recipe
Pair with hearty cornbread made with olive oil in place of butter for a delicious weekend dinner.

Get the recipe: Olive Oil Cornbread Recipe
Photo: Alison Gootee

Photo: Alison Gootee

Chocolate Sabayon with Raspberries Recipe
Top everything off with this grown-up chocolate pudding for dessert.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Sabayon with Raspberries Recipe