As winter draws in and it starts to get colder, we all turn to certain staples to help us feel cosy on the inside. These dishes tend to be hot and heavy or rich, providing exactly the comfort we need to survive the long nights and chilly weather.
But don’t think about resting on your laurels. Even when making comfort food, it’s worth making the best comfort food ever. So, here are some ultimate versions of winter classics to take your seasonal cooking to the next level.
The ultimate jacket potato
To make a jacket potato you bung it in the microwave and top it with some grated cheese, right?! Wrong. For a start, your potato needs to see the inside of an oven or Cook4Me at some point, otherwise you just won’t get that crispy skin and that really is the best bit. And you can definitely up your game when it comes to fillings.
This recipe from Supper in the Suburbs takes the humble cheese topping to a whole other level, basing it on a roux. It’s almost as if the jacket potato and the Welsh rarebit got together and had a baby – and if that doesn’t sound like comfort food heaven then nothing does.
The ultimate soup
Soup is a wonderful winter warmer and you can easily make it from the leftover ingredients in your fridge. But if you want a really comforting steaming bowl of something quite special, then you can’t go wrong with cullen skink. This smoky, creamy Scottish dish feels nourishing as you eat it.
In this recipe from The Spruce Eats there’s no scrimping on the haddock or the butter, making for a deliciously rich soup. Pair it with freshly made crusty bread for the best winter’s day lunch you can imagine.
The ultimate winter stew
Stews are great, because you get the prep out of the way at the beginning, pop it all in your slow cooker or Cook4Me and let it do its thing. What you’re left with is an unctuous (good word, huh?) dish of rich yumminess with all your meat and vegetables included.
So, how do you up the ante with a stew? Add Guinness of course (other stout varieties are available). The alcohol from Ireland’s most famous export cooks off and you’re left with the richness it adds to the sauce. Once Upon a Chef shows you how.
The ultimate apple crumble
Traditional, stodgy desserts are what winter in the UK was made for. There’s no better excuse than the fact that it’s cold and raining or even snowing outside to add a pudding to the table at dinnertime and crumble is up there with the best.
For an even more indulgent take on the apple crumble, try this caramel version from Lucy Loves. Any family member with a sweet tooth will be totally impressed and you’ll find you’ll be making it on a regular basis throughout the winter months.
The ultimate hot chocolate
After a wintry walk when your feet got accidentally wet, or as a little treat before bed, the answer is always hot chocolate. And there are loads of ways to pimp your hot chocolate. You can add whipped cream and marshmallows or even a nip of your favourite tipple for a bit of extra warmth.
But before all that you need a really good base hot chocolate recipe. After all, it just won’t do to have a watery mess at the bottom of all that tastiness. This extra thick version from An Italian in my Kitchen will do just the trick.