The Best 3 Winter Comfort Food Recipes
|Date:||11 February 2021|
The 3 Best Easy Winter Comfort Food Recipes
The best thing about the winter season is how much it makes you appreciate the little things. If you’ve had to brace the cold to go outside for a while during the day, there’s nothing better than getting home, bundling up in some cozy clothes, and having a bowl of warm, comforting goodness. Granted, we’re mostly staying indoors now that the corona measures are in place, and even more so with the curfew. But, this is precisely why making some comfort food is an excellent idea: not only will you be rewarded with some soul-warming food, but you’ll also get to spend a couple of hours doing something other than sitting down and staring at a screen. Trust me, it’s a good way to help the boredom go away. In this blog, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite comfort food recipes to make during the Winter:
Mac n’ Cheese (veggie-friendly)
Skills required: Beginner
Mac n’ Cheese is an easy, student-friendly recipe that is extremely comforting and will leave you full in no time. Like any other classic student-budget recipe, the main ingredient in this recipe is pasta. While it’s not as quick to make as pasta with pesto (a.k.a. the OG student recipe), it’ll definitely leave you feeling way happier on a cold winter’s day. Say goodbye to the boxed mac n’ cheese and say hello to this incredibly easy (and way cheesier) mac n’ cheese!
1 box of elbow macaroni
100 g. Butter
1 pack (150 g.) of shredded cheddar cheese
1 pack (200 g.) of shredded ‘oude kaas’
1 pack (200 g.) of shredded ‘jong kaas’
500 ml. Halfvolle milk
Start by bringing water to a boil in a pot, and add salt. Drop in your macaroni, and follow the cooking time indicated in the package until the pasta is al dente. Save a little bit of the pasta water in a small cup, as you’ll use this later on to make the sauce creamier and richer. On a separate pot or pan with medium heat, warm up the milk and begin slowly mixing in all the cheeses until they’re molten. If your consistency is too thick, add a little bit of that pasta water you saved earlier; this will make sure you can achieve a thinner consistency while still maintaining a beautiful blend of the flavors. Once that’s done, all you need to do is drop your cooked macaroni into the sauce, mix, and you’ve got yourself a delicious mac n’ cheese that will last for several servings!
Bonus tip: If you really want to get gourmet with this recipe, you can spread the mac n’ cheese on a pyrex tray (or any type of oven tray), add some bread crumbs on top, and let it bake until it’s achieved a light golden brown color. It’ll add a little bit of crunchy goodness!
Mom’s Best Chicken Noodle Soup:
Skills required: Intermediate
My all-time favorite comfort food is chicken noodle soup. It’s been a staple recipe at my home in Costa Rica since I was little, and it’s one of those foods that I can never say no to. Anyone can make a fantastic chicken soup: it’s simple, does not require advanced cooking skills, and will always be bursting with flavors. However, to this day, my favorite one is still the one that my mom makes, as it’s full of vegetables that add another dimension to this comfort food classic. If you’re in need of a warm meal that tastes like home, I’d definitely recommend trying this out. Here’s how to make it:
1 clove of garlic
1 yellow onion
1 stalk of celery
1 bay leaf
½ head of broccoli
Spinach (to taste)
Coriander (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
¼ pack of any noodle or pasta you like
Chicken breast and chicken thigh
Start by lightly satuéeing the finely chopped garlic, onion, celery, and diced carrots – make sure to also add the bay leaf. Add the chicken and cook until it’s achieved a golden brown color (this is what will give you that delicious flavor later on). Add four cups of water, and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add your extra vegetables (broccoli, spinach, whatever you like!), and bring down to a low heat. Just right before the vegetables are done cooking, drop in your noodles and continue cooking on low heat until they are al dente. And there you go! You’ve got a delicious chicken soup without the need to use any store-bought chicken stock. Once you’ve finished cooking your soup is when you’re free to season with salt and pepper to taste. For an extra touch of aromatics, add in around a tablespoon of some freshly chopped coriander.
Bonus tip: while the noodles are cooking, drop in a couple of eggs and let them boil along with the soup. Make sure to not mix them, as otherwise you’ll be left with some awkward strings of egg whites everywhere. Serve the soup with a squeeze of lime to really bring out all the flavors.
Hachée (meat stew)
Skills required: A bit more advanced
You may know Dutch food for its signature fried stuff, raw fish, and their love for bread and pindakaas (which means peanut butter, not peanut cheese). However, Dutch food spans way beyond that. Recently I came to the conclusion that if there’s one thing the Dutch really know how to do well, it’s winter foods – and no, I’m not talking about Stamppot here. Hachée is a traditional Dutch meat stew that quite literally tastes like winter. As any good Dutch dish, it’s served with mashed potatoes and some variation of a boiled vegetable. It may not sound so appealing, but after a day of walking around in the cold, this dish is like a warm hug to your soul.
50 grams of unsalted butter (real butter, not margarine)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp. Red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Appelmoes
1 beef bouillon tablet
400 g. water
1 slice ginger bread
1 winter beer (gives it a fantastic taste!)
750 g. Lean rib or beef steak
A little bit of flour for coating
Start by dicing the onions, patting the meat dry, and cutting the meat into medium sized pieces. Lightly pass the meat through some flour until it leaves a thin coat, this will help thicken the stew later. On medium-high heat, melt the butter and sautée the meat, leaving to cook for about 10 minutes until it browns. Add the onions, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Next, add the aromatics: bay leaves, cloves, red wine vinegar, and the appelmoes. At the same time, add the bouillon tablet, the water, and the beer until the meat is coated. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat to low. Cover it with a lid, and cook it for approximately 2 hours (the more the better! My friends leave it on for 3). Make sure to check on the stew every once in a while and stir with a wooden spoon in order to ensure everything is mixing well and that the bottom is not burning. This will be time consuming, but ultimately very worth it. Once the time has passed, crumble the gingerbread into the stew and let it dissolve. This will add consistency and thicken the sauce. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bonus tips: This dish tastes better the longer it’s left to develop the flavors. If you make it 1 day in advance, and then reheat it on a low flame, you’ll be greeted with intense, rich flavours that really make this dish worth it. Also, another tip is to add more vegetables! My friends like adding carrots and celery (which can be added simultaneously with the onion).
These are some of my favorite go-to Winter recipes. Which ones are yours? Let me know in the comments below!