My top 3 winter-warmer recipes

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My top 3 winter-warmer recipes

 

This is a collaborative post

 

Even if you’re not a fan of cold weather, one great thing about winter is the excuse to cook some hearty food that fills you up and keeps you warm. Think stews, casseroles and generous dishes that fill the air with tempting aromas and gladden the soul. I’ve come up with three great winter-warmer recipes that are just the thing on a cold December day.

Jacket potatoes with smoked fish and horseradish

The humble jacket potato is without doubt the first thing that comes to mind when I think of warming winter food. The secret is to give them plenty of time in the oven so that the skins crisp up and the interior becomes pillowy soft. Another top tip? Once they’re done, wrap your hand in a tea towel and give your jackets a gentle karate chop, which ensures a fluffy spud. If you’re short of time, McCain baked potatoes make an ideal substitute, as they only take five minutes, and you can still add one of the delicious fillings below. Oh, and make sure you use a floury potato – they’ll give you the best results.

Ingredients

  • 4 good-sized floury potatoes
  • 3tbsp horseradish cream
  • 2tsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 250g crème fraîche
  • 2-3 fillets of smoked salmon, flaked
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill

Method

  • Rinse the potatoes, then prick all over with a fork, sprinkle some crushed sea salt over them, then bake at 190˚C for 60-70 minutes, or until the skin is nice and crispy.
  • Add the horseradish, lemon juice, mustard, crème fraîche and dill to a glass bowl and mix well
  • Once the potatoes are ready, cut them in half, and scoop the insides of the potatoes into another bowl, pour over the horseradish mixture, and combine. Fold in the salmon gently.
  • Spoon the mixture into the potato skins, and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Beef and Guinness Stew

This is a big-hearted stew that will warm you up from the inside when you try it! The Guinness adds flavour and body, and when choosing your beef, shin is a good choice. It benefits from low-and-slow cooking, rewarding you with tender, flavourful meat. This would be delicious served with some Irish soda bread on the side.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • a handful of smoked lardons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and chopped
  • 500g beef shin, cut into chunks
  • 500ml Guinness
  • 250ml beef stock

Method

  • In a large pan, heat some olive oil and soften the onions and garlic
  • Add the carrots and celery, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften, but make sure they don’t colour
  • Add the lardons, and stir until they take on a little colour
  • Add the herbs, and then the beef. Cook for a few minutes, allowing the beef to colour slightly
  • Add the Guinness and stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it
  • Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down immediately, and simmer gently for 1.5-2 hours (alternatively, place in an oven at 140C for 2hrs)

Chicken Pie

A good chicken pie is one of the most appetising things to cook, and the smells wafting from the kitchen will get everyone’s appetites going! Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – this recipe is a doddle to make – and you don’t have to make your own pastry; shop-bought works absolutely fine.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 sprigs of tarragon, finely chopped
  • 3-4 handfuls of cooked chicken (white and dark meat)
  • 400ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 50g butter, cubed
  • 250ml milk
  • 50g flour
  • 1 roll shortcrust pastry

Method

  • Take a pie dish measuring 30 x 20 cm, and lightly rub it all over with butter
  • In a sturdy pan, heat a few glugs of olive oil, then add the onion and garlic
  • Soften for a few minutes, then add the chopped carrot and leeks and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t stick to the pan
  • Add the bay leaf, tarragon and chicken, and stir the mixture well. Cook for a minute or two to colour the chicken slightly
  • Add the stock, bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for one hour
  • In a separate pan, melt the butter, then add the flour, and stir continously to ‘cook out’ the flour flavour
  • Gradually add the milk, plus the occasional ladleful of stock from the chicken mixture, then bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes
  • Fold the chicken mixture into the sauce, stir to combine, then allow to cool for 30 minutes. Pour the mixture into your pie dish.
  • Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3-4mm, then place over the pie dish and mixture, trimming the pastry around the edge of the dish.
  • Brush the pastry with beaten egg, then bake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 200˚C.
  • Serve with mashed potato and buttered green beans.

There you have it – three cracking winter-warmer dishes! This inviting trio will put a smile on the face of everyone who tries them, and they’re perfect if you’ve been outside earlier in the day. Of course, you can alter the recipes to your taste – you could try lamb shoulder instead of beef in the stew, or trout instead of salmon in the jacket-potato recipe. Winter is coming, and that’s fine in our book!

 

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