Bundling up to face the cold outside certainly works up an appetite. And what is better than coming home and eating a soothing hot meal? The following 5 recipes are not only easy but will keep you warm inside and out.
1. Osso buco
It’s an expensive dish to order in restaurants, and yet so easy to make at home…and only 10 minutes to prep. And it tastes even better when prepared up to two days in advance, so it’s perfect to make for company. Impress your friends as you leisurely sip wine and talk with them while it reheats. The gremolata adds the special zip to the dish.
- 1/2 cup flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 pieces veal shank with bone
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup dry Marsala wine
- 2 cups veal or chicken stock
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
- Grated rind of 1 orange
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- In a large ziplock bag, season flour with salt and pepper. Place the veal shanks in the mixture, seal the bag and shake until shanks are coated. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, over medium flame, heat the oil and butter. Shake off excess mixture from the veal shanks, and sear the shanks on all sides. Add more oil and butter if needed. Remove the browned veal shanks and set aside.
- Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves and parsley to the same pan and cook until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high, add the wine and deglaze the pan. Return the shanks to the pan, add the stock and tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender. Baste the meat a few times during cooking. Remove the cover, continue to simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.
- Pour the veal shanks and sauce in a container with a tightly fitting cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Scrape off top layer of fat, and place in large pan to reheat.
- For gremolata: combine all ingredients together in a small bowl. Strew the gremolata over the reheated osso buco before serving. Serve osso buco with baked polenta, mashed potatoes, or risotto.
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 2 hrs.
2. Japanese Udon Noodle Soup with Sake and Butter Sauce
Japanese noodles are all the rage now, and ramen and noodle restaurants proliferate all over Toronto. But you can make this delicious and easy soup at home in no time. No need to order in. Plan ahead an just go to T&T or another Asian market for the ingredients.
- 2 T white miso paste
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1 T sake
- 2 ½ cups chicken soup
- 1 ½ T butter
- 1 T black sesame seeds
- 2 T canola or vegetable oil
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets (optional)
- Udon, one package of fresh udon
- 3 scallions, chopped
- Put miso, soy sauce, sake, chicken soup, butter, and sesame seeds in a large pan with a cover.
- Heat oil in a separate saucepan and cook mushrooms and broccoli for 2 minutes. Add to pan with chicken soup mixture.
- Add udon to soup and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes and serve. Garnish with chopped scallions.
NOTE: You can also add to the soup: leftover chicken, beef or pork slices, or lightly boiled or sautéed shrimp.
Yield: 2-3 servings
Time: 15 minutes
3. Macaroni and beef with tomatoes
This is pure comfort food and so filling. You can make a batch, eat as much as you want, and freeze the rest.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably Italian San Marzano
- Herbs: 3 T parsley, 3 sprigs of thyme
- 8 oz macaroni
- In a large non-stick pan, heat olive oil and saute onion until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add beef, and keep stirring until meat is completely chopped. Add tomatoes and cut into small pieces with spatula. Stir in herbs. Lower heat and simmer for ½ hour.
- Boil a large pot of water and add salt. Add macaroni to boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain macaroni in a colander and put back into large pot. Add meat sauce and stir well. Eat immediately, or cook ahead of time and reheat.
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes prep, 45 minutes cooking time
4. Cauliflower Souffle
Use this healthy vegetable to make an impressive soufflé. You can also make this with a combination of broccoli and cauliflower for an equally appealing result. Serve with a large salad for a complete meal.
- 1 medium cauliflower (about 1 ¼ lbs), trimmed and broken into florets
- 4 T (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 ounces Gruyère or Swiss cheese, grated (2 lightly packed cups)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
- Boil or steam cauliflower until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt butter in large pan and add flour. Lower heat, stir to blend mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add milk, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and whisk in eggs, salt, pepper, and cheese.
- Place cauliflower in a lightly greased soufflé pan or baking dish. Pour sauce over cauliflower. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 1 hour
5. Navarin of Beef
A beef stew is the perfect winter antidote. Try this version and your taste buds will thank you. This is another dish that tastes much better cooked a day or two in advance. Add some crusty bread and a green salad, and you’re all set.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ lbs beef, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (use tomato paste in a tube to avoid waste)
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 16 baby potatoes, halved
- 1 bunch baby carrots, ends trimmed, peeled
- 2 bunches scallions, ends trimmed
- 10 oz string beans, topped
- 1 ½ cups frozen green peas or edamame
- Crusty bread, to serve
- Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add a third of the beef cubes and cook, turning, for 3-4 minutes or until brown. Transfer to a plate. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with the remaining beef, reheating the pan between batches.
- Add the flour, tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the stock and wine. Add the thyme and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat. Return beef to pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the beef mixture and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Add carrots, scallions, string beans, and peas or edamame. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
- Season with salt and pepper. Place the beef stew in a large serving dish, and serve immediately with a loaf of crusty bread.
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 1 ½ hrs
What is your favourite winter meal? Share with us in the comments!
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