Winter Comfort Food
Winter is the season for comfort foods and we thought we’d share our favourite hearty Winter meals to inspire you, beginning with Amie's Chilli Con Carne recipe, pictured above.
Amie: Chilli Con Carne
This tasty, vegetable-rich dish is nutritious and filling.
Serve fresh and hot, or freeze for future meals.
250g grass-fed beef or lamb mince
400g red kidney beans
400g tomato puree or diced tomatoes
200g baby spinach leaves
125g cherry tomatoes
2 carrots, grated
2 celery sticks, diced
2 onions, diced
1 capsicum, diced
1 cup filtered water
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 chilli, chopped to taste
sea salt + pepper to taste
- Sauté garlic, onion, carrot + celery until soft in a large pan
- Add mince + spices until brown
- Add capsicum, tomato paste, tomato puree, chilli and kidney beans
- Add filtered water and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, until thick
- Add cherry tomatoes, spinach, salt + pepper
- Garnish with coriander + parsley
Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt and a squeeze of lime
Bob: Chicken Soup
We love soup for lunch in winter. A favourite is chicken soup and these days we make our own bone stock. Experience has taught us that the best stock comes from the best bones….organic if possible, grass fed and free ranging. Powdered and long life stocks just aren’t the same, and what’s more they don’t rate very high nutritionally.
I’m convinced that homemade stock is excellent for gut health. It’s full of easily absorbable minerals as well as chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine for joint health. Research has shown a boost from chicken soup to our white blood cells, justifying the name it frequently attracts….”Jewish penicillin”. Bone stock contains gelatine which is great for hair and nails, but only if you use a good quality chicken. In fact the gelatinous content of the stock is a reliable indicator of the health of the chicken, and the nutritional value of the stock. That said, it appears that a very gelatinous stock can actually be made from chicken feet, even from less than organic chickens. This can be a real money-saver, and Chinese butchers are the most common source.
Organic chicken wings and drumsticks are relatively affordable and don’t waste a good chicken carcass from a roast dinner. Slow cook the chicken pieces and bones with herbs, basic vegetables and a pinch of sea salt. Add a dash of vinegar or a piece of lemon as acidity helps draw minerals from the bones into the stock. Traditional vegetables are onion, leek, carrot, celery, parsley and thyme. I love to vary the recipe sometimes with Asian herbs and spices which give a tasty and medicinal boost. We sometimes swap the thyme and parsley for chilli, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, cayenne and star anise. At the end of cooking just strain the stock, discarding the solids. You will be adding some fresh vegetables and herbs to the final soup. Alternatively freeze for later use.
We like to slow cook a good chicken in a large pot, together with a cup or two of chopped vegetables and our herbs and spices. Depending on the size of the chicken, this takes around 90 minutes. Every so often check the surface of the pot and remove any scum that may have risen. Remove the cooked chicken from the pot, continuing to simmer the stock ingredients. Allow the chicken to cool and remove the meat from the bones. Time this for lunch or dinner and you can eat some of the chicken immediately, or retain for other uses, including adding back into the soup. Return any bones to the pot and continue on a slow simmer for some hours. This process is also suitable for a slow cooker. Just remove the chicken when it’s cooked, according to the instructions for the appliance.
This is my easy recipe:
Dr Bob’s Chicken Soup
1 medium-sized organic chicken
1 onion, chopped (no need to peel)
1 leek, well washed and chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Small bunch thyme, leaves removed from stalk
Small bunch parsley, chopped
1 small half lemon or dash of cider vinegar
Extra vegetables and herbs to finish soup (such as onions, leek, carrot, celery, parsnip and parsley)
Additional carbohydrate foods as required (see below)
- Put the chicken in a large, heavy pot and cover well with water.
- Bring to boil, removing any scum that appears, then turn down to a very low simmer.
- Add all the chopped vegetables and herbs and simmer, covered, for around 2 hours.
- Remove chicken and when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones.
- Strain stock into separate pot, add the extra vegetables, all finely chopped. Cook for another few minutes. Check seasoning, adding sea salt, black pepper or cayenne to taste.
- At this point you may wish to add some carbohydrate to make the healthy soup a bit more of a hearty family meal. We sometimes add a handful of pasta which will need an extra 10 minutes to cook. Other good additions include pre-cooked brown rice, quinoa or barley. Cooked white beans are also delicious and filling, giving the feel of minestrone.
- Return chopped chicken pieces to pot and warm through.
- Garnish with freshly chopped herbs such as parsley.
Kerryn: Broccoli and Leek Soup
Soups are one of the quickest and easiest meals to throw together at the last minute. They're also a great way to use up leftovers or vegetables that are "on their last legs"; to consume water on a cold day and sneak veggies into the family's daily diet. This is a favourite in my household and even though it contains broccoli, it really doesn't taste like it - which is great because even though I know I should love broccoli - some days I struggle!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, pale section only, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g cauliflower (stalk and/or florets)
1L (4 cups) liquid vegetable or chicken stock
600g broccoli, cut into florets and don’t waste the stalk, chop it into 1cm cubes.
fresh parsley and basil (optional)
- Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped leek and cook, stirring occasionally until soft.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the stock and chopped broccoli stalks & cauliflower stalks, bring to boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower and broccoli florets and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Take off heat and allow to cool slightly
- Add fresh parsley and basil if desired and blend with stick blender until smooth or at desired consistency. (Alternatively, transfer mixture to a blender to and blend to desired consistency).
- Ladle into bowls, season with pepper, if desired and enjoy.
NB: Makes 4 servings and can be divided into containers and placed in refrigerator or freezer to enjoy another time.
Neal: Cream of Mushroom Soup
I love Cream of Mushroom soup. It’s a great immune enhancing source of beta glucans and protein.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
3 shallots, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large head of cauliflower, including stem, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 cups water
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
500g mushrooms, chopped finely
1 cup natural Greek Yoghurt
2 tablespoons arrowroot flour (or substitute with corn flour for a slightly different texture)
- Gently heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.
- Add onion, garlic, shallots, celery, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 2 mins, stirring frequently.
- Add in cauliflower and cook for a further couple of minutes
- Add 4 cups of the water, Dijon mustard and half of the chopped mushrooms and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is just tender. (Approximately 5 - 7 minutes).
- Transfer mixture to a blender or use a stick blender and blend mixture until smooth.
- Return to pan and add the remainder of the chopped mushrooms.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the mushrooms are cooked.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the remaining cup of water, arrowroot flour and yoghurt.
- Add this mixture to the soup and stir until well combined and simmer until heated through.
- Served topped with chives.