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Just Be Kitchen’s winter menu offers plenty of comfort. Photo courtesy of Just Be Kitchen

9 Dishes for National Comfort Food Day

From Detroit-style pizza and Turkish dumplings to risotto, here’s how we’re celebrating.

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Annette’s pork hash with poached eggs

There’s not a bad dish on any of Annette’s menus, but chef-owner Caroline Glover’s pork hash, available only during weekend brunch, is a bowl of savory goodness that we could eat every day of the week. To make it, Glover brines pork shanks for five days, braises the seasoned meat for four hours, then pulls it into tender shards that she serves with delightfully crispy fried chunks of potato, runny-yolked poached eggs, tangy pickled mustard seeds, and a shower of sliced chives. Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-710-9975

Barolo Grill’s risotto

Simple. Satisfying. Spectacular. Those are just a few of the words that may come to mind as you spoon up each silky bite of the Parmigiano-Reggiano-rich risotto on Barolo Grill’s fall menu. The carnaroli rice, creamy and flavorful from simmering in a rich stock, is exactly as it should be: “all’onda” or loose and flowing like a wave. Smoked paprika adds depth and, well, smokiness, without marring the perfect simplicity of the dish. 3030 E. Sixth Ave., 303-393-1040

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Brightmarten’s short rib chimichanga

Breakfast burritos are a beloved Denver staple that need no improvement, right? Well, Brightmarten in Bonnie Brae has raised the bar with its short rib chimichanga, a hulking burrito stuffed with braised short ribs, potatoes, pork green chile, and Monterey Jack cheese…which is then deep fried and topped with more green chile, cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Available only during weekend brunch, it’s a gut-busting beauty that will have you crawling back under the covers (in a good way). 730 S. University Blvd., 720-541-7696

Citizen Rail’s off-menu savory pies

Chef Christian Graves is cooking something especially comforting right now at Hotel Born’s Citizen Rail: a secret menu smoked lamb and truffle pie that only in-the-know Denverites (read: you) are privy to. Served in a cast-iron pan replete with a sparkling white marrow bone sticking out of its pastry crust, the pie’s aroma of rich gravy, tender meat, truffles, and root vegetables is enough to warm you through. The flavor? Out-of-this-world satisfying. Don’t wait: The massive pies—ideal for sharing—are only available until the end of January. Hotel Born, 1899 16th St., 303-323-0017

Comal’s Ethiopian specials

You already know and love Comal Heritage Food Incubator’s fantastic Latin American and Syrian fare. Well, the RiNo lunch outpost is now even better thanks to the addition of Ethiopian specials cooked by chef Sara Gebre every Thursday. For $12, you’ll receive a hubcap-size piece of tangy, spongy injera bread topped with three savory “wots” (stews). All three—red lentils spiced with aromatic berbere, yellow split pea stew, and carrots and potatoes with red cabbage—are vegan to boot. Taxi, 3455 Ringsby Court, #105, 303-292-0770

Hops & Pie’s Detroit-style pizza

The Berkeley neighborhood’s eight-year-old pie joint recently added Detroit-style pizzas to the menu—and they’re just as fantastic as you’d expect. In keeping with Detroit style, the rectangular crust is airy and focaccia-esque, while the edges are delightfully crisp with a blend of caramelized mozzarella and brick cheeses. The result is gooey and inviting and, best yet, Hops & Pie delivers, so if you live within range, you can cozy up and eat your pizza in your pajamas. 3920 Tennyson St., 303-477-7000

Just Be Kitchen’s vegetable curry

There’s nothing better than a spicy, warming bowl of veggie curry on a cold night. Just Be’s grain-free, vegetarian-friendly take on the staple features a medley of roasted seasonal veg, an ultra-creamy, coconut-based curry sauce, and a pile of “rice” made from tiny pieces of cauliflower. While cauliflower rice is often just as bland and watery as the term “cauliflower rice” sounds, Just Be’s version picks up a bit of char and flavor from the griddle, rendering it absolutely delicious. 2364 15th St., 303-284-6652

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Safta’s Turkish manti dumplings

Finding Turkish food isn’t all that easy in the Mile High City, but lucky for us, RiNo’s Safta is offering a special Turkish menu from now through the end of January. While the $65, four-course prix-fixe menu includes such delights as slow-cooked leeks and potato with caviar and roasted quince with Fruition Farms’ ricotta, the manti dumplings are the true star of the show. Thin pasta wrappers are stuffed with cinnamon-heavy spiced ground lamb and served with swoosh-y dollops of garlic-infused yogurt and a drenching of house-made spicy chile oil. Ask for a side-order of hot-from-the-oven pita to mop your plate clean. The Source Hotel & Market Hall, 3330 Brighton Blvd., 720-408-2444

Spuntino’s spelt gnocchi

If you are cold, hungry, out of sorts, or all of the above, head immediately to Spuntino in LoHi and order the menu’s current gnocchi iteration: tender pasta pillows made with nutty spelt flour, dressed with cubes of roasted butternut squash, chevre from Buena Vista’s Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy, toasted walnuts, and a walnut cream sauce. It’s a plate of pure comfort. 2639 W. 32nd Ave., 303-433-0949

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