Feb 20, 2015

Recipes: Winter comfort foods

By: Jennifer Bartoli

Recipes: Winter comfort foods Author: Style At Home

Feb 20, 2015

Recipes: Winter comfort foods

By: Jennifer Bartoli

As the temperatures get cooler and the days shorter, there's nothing more comforting than preparing a home-cooked meal to share with friends or family. These recipes will help keep you warm through rain and snow as well as ensure that you make the best of winter flavours.


Creamy potato soup with crumbled blue cheese
This creamy soup is inspired by the French vichyssoise soup - a lovely mix of potatoes and leeks. It can be enjoyed cold in the summertime but is also delicious served hot during the cold winter months.


  • 2 ounces of pancetta, roughly diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 leeks, chopped (use white and light green parts only)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
  • Water
  • 1 pound of Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 small potatoes)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese
  • Chives, to garnish

In a stockpot, add the pancetta on medium heat and cook until some of fat renders (about 3 minutes). Add the onion and stir. Add a drizzle of oil if needed. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic.

2 Chop the leeks and add to the stockpot. Saute for 2 minutes. Peel the potatoes and cut into bite-size chunks. Add them to the pot and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock. The liquid should just cover the potatoes and leeks. Add water to cover if there isn't enough stock to do so. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover.

3 Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and blend with an immersion blender until the soup is smooth. Add a touch of water if the soup is too thick for your taste. Strain the soup to remove any lumps and strands of leek. Serve warm with crumbled blue cheese and garnish with chives.

Serves 6. 



Pea and pancetta soup
Peas and pancetta are a match made in heaven and come together beautifully in this chunky soup. Winter-2pea.jpg
NAPKINS, white TRAY and BOWLS, Indigo.


  • 1/4 cup of finely diced pancetta
  • 1/3 cup of finely diced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 cups of frozen peas
  • 1/4 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • Fresh mint, to garnish

Add the pancetta to a saucepan on medium heat. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the pancetta is cooked through and crispy. Remove the pancetta and reserve.

2 Add the onions, garlic and oregano to the saucepan, with a good drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are transculent, for 4-5 minutes. Add the frozen peas and stir.

3 Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook on a low simmer for 10 minutes.

4 Using an immersion blender, blend until the soup reaches your desired consistency. Fold in the cream. Serve and top with the reserved pancetta and fresh mint leaves.

Serves 4.

Artichoke spaghetti
Little compares to a heaping bowl of creamy pasta during the winter. Combined with flavourful artichokes and fresh Parmesan, it's pretty close to the perfect meal in our book!

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 cup of canned artichokes, drained
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan, and extra to serve
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

2 While the pasta is cooking, place a pan on medium low heat and add a good drizzle of olive oil. Add the garlic. Add the scallions and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.

3 Coarsely chop the artichokes and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cream and stir. Add one tablespoon of the pasta water - the starch from the pasta in the water will help thicken the sauce.

4 Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Stir so all the ingredients mix in with the spaghetti. Add the parmesan, a pinch of salt and pepper, the lemon juice and stir again. Serve immediately, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Serves 2.

Cabbage rolls with tomato sauce
These cabbage rolls are the real definition of comfort food. They do take a little bit of time to make, but the end-result is well worth-it! Winter-2cabbage.jpg
  • 1 large savoy cabbage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 2 cups of long grain rice, cooked
  • 8 ounces of ground beef
  • 6 ounces of ground lamb
  • 1 can of tomato puree, 28 ounces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Using a paring knife, remove the core of the cabbage. Bring a large pot filled with water to a gentle boil. The pot must be big enough to fit the whole cabbage. Turn the cabbage several times during this process to make sure all parts of the cabbage are submerged in water. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the outer leaves are tender. Carefully remove the cabbage from the water and remove the softened outer leaves. Return the cabbage to the boiling water, and repeat the process to tenderize all the leaves.

2 Using a peeler, peel the rigid center core of each leaf so that the leaves are easily pliable.

3 Add a good drizzle of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and oregano and cook until the onions are tender and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the onion mixture to a large bowl. Mix in the cooked rice, beef and lamb and generously season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

4 Prepare a work surface to roll the leaves. Add about 1/3 cup of filling on the bottom third of a leaf. Fold the bottom edge over the filling and tightly fold up the sides. Continue rolling as tightly as possible and lay the rolls fold side down.

5 Add the tomato puree to a Dutch oven and add the rolls on top. Depending on the size of the rolls you may have to add more tomato puree. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until the rolls are entirely cooked through. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche. Pumpkin risotto
Risotto is a wonderful one-pot meal. It's perfect for the colder months of tthe year, especially when made with flavourful pumpkin puree.

  • 1-1/2 cup of arborio rice
  • 4 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 shallots, diced finely
  • 1 teaspoon of dried sage
  • 1 glass of good quality white wine
  • A large handful of cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone (optional, used to top the risotto)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan

Bring the stock to a boil in a small pot and reduce to a low simmer.

2 In a saucepan, add a good drizzle of olive oil on medium low heat. Add the shallots, and the dried sage. Once the shallots have softened (about 2 minutes), add the rice and mix, stirring until the rice looks lightly toasted. Add the wine and stir. Once the wine has almost evaporated, add the stock one ladle at a time. Keep adding stock once it has almost evaporated in the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper (the stock will reduce and is salty so make sure not to add too much salt while you're cooking the risotto).

3 In the meantime, heat some olive oil on medium high heat in a separate pan. Add the sliced mushrooms. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked through. Set aside.

4 Keep a constant eye on the rice, adding stock as it gets incorporated into the rice. The risotto should gently simmer for about 16-17 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, add the mushrooms and pumpkin puree. Gently mix them, making sure the pumpkin puree is well stirred through. Fold in the Parmesan. Serve immediately, adding a spoonful of mascarpone, if using.

Serves 4.

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Recipes: Winter comfort foods