comfort food to heat up your belly
→If you haven’t mastered the art of braising and stewing, you’re really missing out on some scrumptious cold-weather eats. And, you’re also not taking advantage of all those wonderfully delicious cuts of meat out there that help keep the grocery bills out of the red zone. (And don’t forget those “tough” vegetables like celery, carrots, parsnips and fennel, that melt-in-your-mouth when prepared with a little TLC.)
Even without a recipe, you can create sublime meals that have a little different spin every time simply by mastering the (um, super easy) techniques and keeping a few key ingredients (wine, a variety of stock or broth, your standard mirepoix veggies, dried porcini mushrooms…) in your pantry at all times.
You also don’t need any fancy equipment, though slow-cooking is as good an excuse as any to splurge on a few new pieces of Le Creuset or a party-sized “cooker” such as All-Clad’s that has a removable ceramic insert to make storing leftovers (and clean-up) a simple task. I find the smaller dutch ovens easier to deal with when not cooking for a crowd, but the larger appliance really is great for entertaining. One of my favorite recipes that I’ve made was for pulled pork, a recipe that I failed to adequately detail, and a fantastic beef stew from Philly-based Andrew Schloss’ Art of the Slow Cooker.
Epicurious has plenty of inspiration too. One of 2012’s culinary highlights was inspired from its tantalizing repertoire of lamb shank recipes. If you want to impress, this is the dish. (There are lots of other good ones to try though, depending on how much effort you want to put into it.)
There are lots of worthy tips and tricks out there online and probably on your bookshelf, but if you’re coming up short on inspiration, this site will have you drooling—and running to the market—in about 3 seconds flat. (And in you’re in the food writing or teaching biz, pay attention to the website. It does exactly what you want your readers/students to do: salivate!) —@eatDEWwrite