What's In Season: Winter Cooking

What's In Season: Winter Cooking

We're having a real winter. It's not that the seasons don't turn every year, but jeez -- this one is like the winters we had when I was a kid growing up in New England, when our prayers for snow days were often answered. Our parents would eventually scoot us out of the house for sledding and building snow forts, calling us home for mugs of steaming tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich; biting against its crispy, hot surface would force an ooze of warm, tangy cheddar onto our cold chins.

Some things simply taste better in the winter. One-pot dishes end up on any list of cold weather foods: stews, braises, daubes, tagines, and fricassées. Besides their satisfying flavors, what they all have in common is having the stove on for several hours as each needs time in the oven or on top of the stove to cook and develop their tastes.

But are they the same thing? Well, yes and no. All are dishes cooked in a single covered pot, with a combination of ingredients and with some liquid. After that, it gets open to some debate and tradition as to what's called what, but in general, here are the basics:

And what's a ragoût? Generally it's a term for when vegetables are braised together, as with a mushroom, chickpea, or fava bean ragoût.

Other Winter Cooking

Remembering that it's only January and we have another month or two of winter yet to go, what is good to cook and eat during these cold months? Here are some of the dishes that I have either made within the last three weeks or are on my cooking list for the weeks to come:

Enjoy the best of winter cooking and let the pleasure of the making and the eating give us comfort against the cold.





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