Hello foodies. With winter well and truly settled in, it’s time for hearty, comforting food to nourish us and cheer us up on these dark cold evenings.  You have only two real options:

  1. Pop into us here at the Bailey – check out our new menu HERE
  2. Try out one of winter warming recipes below. We hope you enjoy them.

I have three winter warming recipes for you today and each is a plate of deliciousness that will bust any winter blues. There are plenty of winter harvest vegetables such as garlic, onions, hardy greens and root vegetables all available fresh and in season in shops now. With these in mind I have two really nice main courses that will utilise these ingredients.

The first dish is one of my favourite winter warmers, Lamb Shank with red wine sauce on a bed of garlic mash. You will need:

  • 2 x Carrots
  • 3 sticks Celery  diced
  • 1 litres Chicken Stock
  • 1 bottle Red Wine (use a wine you would be happy to drink)
  • 1 sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 sprig Fresh Thyme
  • 4 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 4  Lamb Shanks
  • 1 large  Onion diced
  • Salt and Pepper to season

And for the mash:

  • 3 tbsp Milk
  • Seasoning
  • 25 g Butter
  • 1 bulb Garlic
  • 6 large Potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to season

In a hot pan sear and brown off the shanks and transfer to a casserole dish. Then add the vegetables, herbs and seasoning to the pan and brown off before topping over the shanks. Pour in the wine and the stock so all the meat and veg is under liquid, put the lid on the dish and place into a preheated oven at 150c for 2.5 hours

In the final hour of the meat cooking, cut the bulb of garlic in half, loosely wrap in foil, and then add a little oil before tightly wrapping in the foil and placing in the oven for 55 minutes. Boil and drain the potatoes as you usually would for mash then add the milk and butter and squeeze in the roasted garlic from the bulb. Mash well until completely smooth and free of lumps, replace the lid on the saucepan to keep warm.

When the meat has cooked remove the meat and veg, strain the liquid into a saucepan and boil until it has reduced right down into a thick sauce.

Mound the mash in a plate, pop a shank in the middle, spoon the vegetables around the mash then finish with the red wine sauce. For appearance and effect you could pop a rosemary sprig into the top of the shank bone. This dish takes a bit of effort but it is well worth it and is guaranteed to impress.

This next recipe is for fans of the one pot dinner, all the work goes into the prep (which is simple) and you can just walk away until ready. Chicken Winter Stew is rare in these parts where people usually make winter stews with red, dark meats. Full of flavour the mouth melting chicken will brighten up the darkest winters evening. You will need:

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 young parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 100g baby button mushrooms
  • 4 large chicken legs
  • 5 ltr chicken stock
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 kg new season rooster or Irish white potatoes
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper to season

Fry off the veg (not potatoes) and garlic in a little oil until softened but do not brown and place into a slow cooker. Brown off the chicken legs in the same pan and place on top of the vegetables. Add the potatoes and thyme sprigs and pour over the stock. Cook on high setting for 7 hours and that’s it, its ready to serve. You can do the prep the night before and switch on the cooker in the morning before work, a timer socket is very handy to set the cooker to come on and off. Imagine coming in from work or your daily errands and this wonderful stew is ready to great you.

My final recipe is for the chocolate lovers. This Fudgy Chocolate Pudding is really simple and is delicious served straight from the oven with fresh clotted cream, a berry compote or ice-cream. You will need:

  • 50g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115g dark brown soft sugar
  • 225ml hot water

Combine flour, caster sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, oil and vanilla until smooth and spread into an un-greased (9 in) square baking tin. Then top this mixture with 2 tbsp of cocoa powder combined with the brown sugar sprinkled over the first mixture. Then pour in the water but do not stir. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 35-40 minutes and voila.

So no matter how cold it is outside you can just sit back and enjoy these winter warming recipes