It’s usually about this time of year that I find my winter cooking routine getting, well, a bit routine. The same soups and stews that were thrilling me just a few months ago just aren’t packing the same magic. What’s the cure these kitchen blahs? Travel! Not literal travel (although that would be nice), but some culinary exploration to excite my sluggish senses.
Lots of flavor and not much cleanup: That’s my definition of a great mid-winter meal, so here’s a roundup of some of my favorite one-pot recipes and riffs on classics from across the globe to cozy up to.
Curries are tops when you need a dose of warming, energizing spices. This Spicy Beef and Potato Curry takes its inspiration from the cooking of Southern India with has it all: big flavor, lots of veggies and throw-it-in-the-pot appeal.
Southeast Asian curries are also a terrific tonic, and typically require very little prep and short cooking times. This Red Curry Chicken and Vegetables is a miracle of speed and flavor — you can have dinner on the table in around 20 minutes.
Just about nothing beat’s Spain’s paella when it comes to cool-weather comfort. Cooking rice in a rich broth right in the same pan with other savory ingredients creates an irresistible melding of flavors.
Saffron is the standard spice for paella, but if you find it too pricy (or just don’t have it on hand), substitute a pinch of turmeric for color and a hint of earthy flavor. This bright, tasty Stovetop Vegetarian Paella is cooked in a standard skillet, but if you’ve got a traditional paella pan definitely use it.
Aromatherapy, anyone? This outrageously popular recipe for Peruvian-Style Roasted Chicken with Sweet Onions fills the kitchen with a fragrance that I find both wonderfully exotic and blissfully homey. The spices used are all cabinet staples, which is convenient, and the whole dish roasts in just 45 minutes.
And speaking of chicken: When it comes to banishing chills I think France’s coq au vin should get a very special mention. Wine is one of my favorite cooking ingredients, and its deep flavor in this dish always gives me a remarkable sense of well-being. Anyone pressed for time can dust off the crock pot for this Simple Slow Cooker Coq au Vin.
And finally, don’t forget the fun — either family fun or romantic fun! — of dining over a rich pot of Swiss fondue.
Classic Le Gruyère Fondue is one of the best recipes I know for banishing the winter blues. Choose traditional dippers like bread cubes and apple slices, or branch out and try some novel fare like Asian pear slices, cubes of cooked sausages, or blanched cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
What are your favorite one-pot dishes?