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Winter Comfort Food Takes Edge off the Cold

Ernie Shannon's picture
Winter food

Winter comfort food will become a higher priority as the winter season leaves its lamb-like temperatures behind and begins to roar as a lion. With colder weather setting in even as we speak, Men’s Health magazine suggested that nothing takes the edge off “coming home to a cold, dark house during winter” like a warm meal.

To that end, the magazine offers four winter recipes featuring meals sure to warm:

“Asian Short Ribs - Always fully brown your meat in oil first. The deeper the caramelization, the more flavor the final dish will have. For Asian Short Ribs, combine short ribs, onions, carrots, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, beef stock, ginger, and honey.

After you've browned the meat and transferred it to the slow cooker, deglaze the hot cooking pan by adding wine or other liquid and using a wooden spoon to scrape up any crusty bits stuck to the bottom. This will allow you to extract every last bit of flavor left behind by the meat.

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“For Coq Au Vin (Red Wine Chicken), combine chicken legs, onion, carrots, garlic, red wine, chicken stock, tomato paste, and mushrooms.Your best bet is to pair at least half stock with another flavorful liquid such as wine, beer, vinegar, or soy.

“For Pork Ragu, combine pork shoulder, onions, carrots, celery, white wine, stock, a can of tomatoes, and rosemary. Once cooked, shred the meat with a fork, combine with some of the vegetables and braising liquid, and serve over pasta or polenta. Build flavor with vegetables, spices, herbs, and other add-ins. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4, but remember to add vegetables that cook quickly (such as mushrooms) during the last hour—unless you don't mind eating mush.

“For Lamb Ossobuco, combine lamb shanks, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, red wine, stock, tomato paste, and bay leaves. All of these recipes and the other slow cooker recipes can be done without a slow cooker. Simply place in a 300-degree oven until the meat begins to fall apart.”

The magazine goes on to encourage the use of a slow cooker - “a $40 kitchen tool that makes culinary geniuses out of people who can't even fry an egg. Dump a bunch of meat and vegetables into the vessel before you leave for work, cover with your choice of liquid, press ‘on,’ and disappear for 8 hours. When you return home later that evening, a pot filled with tender, flavorful, ready-to-eat meaty goodness will be waiting for you. What’s more, you don't even need to buy premium cuts of meat. Inexpensive cuts happen to possess an inordinate amount of flavor, and slow-cooking at a steady low temperature is the best way to break down all their connective tissue.”

Image source Flickr. Creative Commons, used with permission.