Steamy kitchen windows and tantalizing aromas in the air often mean a slowly cooked winter stew is simmering and gently burbling away in the kitchen. When it’s cold and wet outside, very few meals satisfy and satiate our souls and stomachs like a steaming bowl of hearty, thick goodness. Brunswick stew, a thick, substantial stew of meat and vegetables, fits the bill of down-home comfort.
It’s January and that means it’s time for clean slates, new goals and a general reshuffling of priorities. I’ve long since learned that I don’t do well with large-scale resolutions, so I try to keep my hopes for the new year manageable instead of massive.
So this month, instead of trying to drastically revamp my diet or throw my gym routine into overdrive, I’m focusing on cooking at home more. It seems simple, but I’ve found that there’s no easier way to eat better than to make it myself.
For me, this means large batches of soups, whole roast chickens, kale salads (they keep so much better than lettuce-based ones), egg bakes with lots of vegetables and house-warming stews. Best of all, these are all dishes that yield enough for three or four meals.
In my mind, there’s no tool more supportive to my eat-home-cooking goal than a couple of tasty leftovers in the fridge. I know lots of folks shy away from day (or two) old food, but truly, there are so many things that get better after a little time to mingle and marry.
On New Year’s Day, I made a batch of Paula Deen’s Irish Lamb Stew. Hunks of lamb are browned and then left to braise with a mountain of onions, leeks, celery, cabbage and tomatoes. While it was good that first day, it made a phenomenal dinner on day 2. On day 3, my husband took the remains to work for lunch. Hooray for home cooking!
A bottle of Chianti wine and chopped pancetta add robust flavor to this hearty bowl.
Get the recipe: Chianti Marinated Beef Stew
Hearty shiitake mushrooms combine with rich and colorful carrot juice, instant barley (a good-for-you grain) and fresh kale to create a satisfying, veggie-packed bowl that is perfect for these chilly autumn nights. Best of all, this stew doesn’t need to stew on the stove all day; it is ready in just 40 minutes, making it a go-to weeknight pick.
End the meal on a sweet note by serving The Neelys’ quick and easy Apple Crisp, featuring a crumbly brown sugar-cinnamon topping and a warm filling of crunchy pecans and in-season Granny Smith apples.
Get the recipe: Carrot-Mushroom-Barley Stew from Food Network Magazine
In honor of the Inauguration, we’ve put together a make-at-home version of the traditional all-American menu being served at President Obama’s celebratory luncheon today.
A Brace of American Birds (pheasant and duck)
Sour Cherry Chutney
Molasses Sweet Potatoes
Apple Cinnamon Sponge Cake and Sweet Cream Glacé