It’s that time of year again; Christmas is over, it’s still cold and summer seems like a long way away. What we need right now is some comforting, hearty food to see us through until spring – at the very least until next week. We’ve come up with some great tasting menu ideas for a mid-week dinner that’ll have you feeling brighter in no time.
Chorizo and Butter Bean Stew
This chorizo and butter bean stew is rich and hearty – perfect for these cold winter nights and bursting with smoky, flavours and a slight kick from the paprika and chilli powder. This is surprisingly filling and delightfully warming. We love it hot pot style with some thinly sliced potatoes on top but it would also be great with some jacket potatoes for lunch or even some rice or pasta.
1 tbsp oil
200g diced chorizo
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tin butter beans, rinsed
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1: Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook until beginning to soften.
2: Add the chorizo, paprika and chilli powder and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3: Add the chopped tomatoes, butter beans and parsley and bring to the boil.
4: Turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for 30-40 minutes and it’s ready, if you’re adding the hotpot topping, peel and thinly slice 900g potatoes, transfer the stew to a casserole dish and top with the potatoes. Drizzle with some melted butter and cook at 200C for 1½ hours until the potatoes are cooked through.
Mac ‘n’ Cheese
A comforting winter staple that is beautifully gooey and more-ish. We’ve kept things simple with only one type of cheese but with the complex richness of Quicke’s mature Cheddar we don’t think it needed any more. The crunchy breadcrumb and Parmesan topping adds delicious variety and texture that we could happily eat all winter – if only our waistlines agreed!
100g plain flour
400g Quicke’s Mature Cheddar, grated
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 pint milk
500g dried macaroni, or other tubular pasta
50g Grana Padano, grated
1: Heat the butter in a large saucepan until melted then add the plain flour and cook for 1 minute until combined thoroughly.
2: Add the mustard and remove from the heat.
3: Whisk in the milk and put back on the heat. Stir continuously until the sauce thickens.
4: Add the Cheddar and stir until it has melted into the sauce then remove from the heat.
5: Boil the macaroni in salted water for 10-12 minutes, or until al dente and drain.
6: Butter an oven-proof dish and pre-heat the oven to 200C.
7: Stir the macaroni into the sauce and pour everything into the buttered dish.
8: Mix the breadcrumbs and Grana Padano together with some black pepper and scatter over the top of the pasta. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
Chicken & Smoky Bacon Pie
Pie is the ultimate comfort food and we think this version really hits the spot. The smokiness of the bacon is delicious with the rich and creamy sauce – not for the January dieters among us! We used the cheats version of shortcrust pastry but if you have the time it’s great to make your own, if not this works just as well. Serve with some chunky chips and greens or buttery mash and gravy for extra decadence.
225g ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 tbsp oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
250g smoked bacon (about 7 rashers), cut into small pieces
100ml white wine
2 tsp fresh thyme
50ml double cream
1 medium egg, beaten
1: Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
2: Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the chicken and bacon.
3: Add the wine, water and thyme and season with black pepper.
4: Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid has significantly reduced.
5: Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in the cream until combined.
6: Pour the filling into your pie dish and roll out the pastry for the lid.
7: Lay the pastry over the pie dish and trim the edges – remember to make a hole in the middle for steam to escape, seal and brush with the beaten egg.
8: Cook for 25-30 minutes until golden.
These dishes would make delicious mid-week winter meals, let us know how yours turn out!