Friday, January 9, 2015

It's cold outside.

No, really.  To us Texans, 35 is cold.  Anything below freezing, and we hunker down inside by the fire.  My son is in Minnesota.  Right now, anything above freezing is shorts and t-shirt weather.

Then again, along about August, if it falls below 90, we throw an extra blanket on the bed, and get out a jacket!

Winter weather means winter food.  And winter food, to me, is easy food.  Stew, soup, chili - dump it in a pot, and in an hour or so, you have a hearty and delicious meal.  And because all that stewing can tenderize a not-so-tender cut of meat, it can be very economical as well. So I thought I'd post some photos and - well, not a recipe per se, but more of a "how-I-did-it" in case anyone wants to try their hand at making these yummy concoctions!

Recently I had a nasty cold.  That calls for the old standby, chicken soup.  Jewish penicillin if you will.  Chicken breast, corn, green beans, carrots, a bay leaf or two, and broth, with some parsley, salt, and pepper.  Let it cook.

Sometimes I get a hankering for beef stew, but even stew beef is pricey these days.  Nothing wrong with burger stew!  Brown the burger, add carrots, potatoes, onions, whatever other veggies, bay, and seasoning.  Not the best photo, but you get the idea.

Tonight's creation is turkey chowder.  The local grocer had turkeys for $,49 an pound - such a steal!  So the wings, thighs, and legs went to simmer with bay, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  Once the meat was falling off the bone, I scooped it out, and separated it, being sure to save some for the pups, and I drained the stock into a large bowl.  Chop up about a half pound of lean bacon, potatoes, carrots, onion... whatever else you like, I added corn and green beans - then 1.5 cups of half and half, and enough stock to cover.  A little parsley and pepper, then let that pot of goodness simmer until the potatoes are done.  Winter goodness!  

Sometimes if it seems a little thin, I'll add a slurry of cornstarch and water, and let that bubble up for a few minutes,  Not much - just enough to give it a little extra "body."

Finally, you can't talk about hearty winter food without mentioning a big bowl of red.  Good ol' chili.  Whether you make it from scratch, or cheat a little and doctor up a can of Wolf Brand (more ground beef, cumin, garlic, onion, and spicy to your taste), there's nothing like it on a cold evening.  Add shredded cheddar and a big dollop of sour cream, and let your saltine cracker dive in!

What's your favorite winter meal?

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