Sausage, White Bean and Escarole Soup

Sausage, White Bean and Escarole Soup

The classic combination of spicy sausage, creamy white cannellini beans and bright escarole has never been so satisfying. We go heavy on the garlic and herbs, add more vegetables, and give it a hearty, creamy texture by mashing some of the beans and adding a little cream cheese. 

Every year on the blog about this time we complain about the weather. It’s so cold right now, we’re watching the Hardhome episode of Game of Thrones, where Jon Snow and his pals are as far North as they’ve ever been, and they’re fighting through a vicious blizzard and the cold is literally making people’s hands drop off, and we’re thinking “mmm, that looks like a toasty vacation spot”.

This year, the weather gods have outdone themselves (it’s -16ºF / -27ºC with the wind chill. That’s an incomprehensible amount of cold.). So instead of shaking our fists at the sky and risking instant frostbite, we fight back by making the coziest, heartiest, most fortifying soup we can imagine.

Rare footage of Matt learning we’re out of milk for tea.

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Smoky and Creamy Corn Chowder with Shrimp

When the cold evenings get you thinking about a warming supper, but there’s still farm fresh corn in the market, corn chowder is our favorite way to ease into autumn. This version combines sweet corn and smoky bacon in a creamy broth, dotted with lightly poached shrimp and  sliced jalapeños to soothe the end-of-summer blues.

What happened to summer? It seems as though the season just started, and its bounty had only yesterday begun to fill the supermarket shelves. Just like that, it’s all done for another year. Fortunately, even the Northeast still has plenty of farm fresh corn to offer – a cornucopia, you might even say – and we’ll take up our supermarket’s “12 corn cobs for $4!” offer as long as we can. This aren’t the tiny, young cobs from July that we could almost eat raw – at the end of the season, while corn is still pretty tasty, but not really at its peak, it’s a fantastic ingredient in a soup or stew. Hence: shrimp and corn chowder.

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Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard

Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Tender chicken, caramelized onions and Swiss chard in a creamy garlic sauce, topped with a blanket of buttery, flaky, ultra-crisp phyllo dough. This is comfort food pretty enough for the fanciest dinner party, but tasty enough for a relaxed family meal. 

(Note: This would also be a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving or holiday turkey. Chop or shred the cooked leftovers and fold into the sauce and vegetables before adding the pastry top.)

I think it was probably about 12 years ago that my mom bought us our first piece of really good cookware, a 5-quart Le Creuset dutch oven. At that point, we were still using a cheap, thin-gauge pan set I had bought in college, which burned pretty much anything that got near it, even if the oven wasn’t on. Being the weirdo that I am, I even remember the first thing I made in it, Duck Leg Ragu. I remember it, not because it was particularly amazing, but because while I was cooking it, something miraculous happened … The bottom of the pan didn’t scorch before the duck had browned. There wasn’t a blackened ring of sauce in the exact same shape as the burner. It was a red-sauce miracle!  That’s when I realized that investing in a few items of really special, well-made cookware was much better than having a crappy set of pans in every size. Since then, our special collection has slowly grown, and I love each piece. We cook a lot (I know you’re shocked) and I use these skillets, fry pans, and grill pans almost daily. The great thing is, well-made cookware lasts for generations so if you have kids, tell them whoever helps in the kitchen inherits the good stuff.

Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard
Super crispy phyllo tops a comforting, creamy chicken stew.

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An American-British Fish Pie

A bowl of fish pie with fork and spoon

Fish Pie

It’s a funny thing, food writing. Cooking has so much potential to bring people together, but recipes can also create rifts of disagreement that can simmer for years (OK, rifts don’t simmer, but, you know what we mean). As a case in point, a while back we posted a basic recipe for pasta, minced beef and tomato sauce that in Emily’s family had gone by the name of “gamush” since time immemorial. We hadn’t exactly imagined it would lead to a kum-ba-yah reunion, but we got two swift pieces of feedback from opposite ends of the family, both claiming that they had invented it, and both mentioning that we had gotten the recipe quite wrong (but in different ways).

Posting a variation on a favorite recipe can be like tackling a religion: you’re going to get diehard believers who have A Correct Way to make something and no deviation will be tolerated. Then, there are more casual members of the church who don’t really mind what you do with the recipe so long as you don’t put raisins in it.

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Braised Short Ribs with Honey, Soy and Orange

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Honey, Soy and Orange

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Honey, Soy and OrangeThese braised short ribs are cooked low and slow in a delectable sauce flavored with soy, honey, orange and Chinese 5-spice powder. A hearty cold-weather recipe!

As a cooking couple, we’re aware of a lot of the clichés that link food with romance. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The couple that braises together…stayses together. You know, the classics.

It is true that if you can work together and communicate well in the kitchen, if you can appreciate each other’s skills and enjoy your combined successes, and if you can laugh at and learn from your culinary failures, your relationship probably has a pretty solid footing. It helps to have a recipe like this braised short ribs dish. There are a few steps to it, but nothing is time-critical, so you can hang out in the kitchen and talk about how your day was while you do the prep and get the ribs in the oven or slow cooker.

Note: This recipe is part of our on-going series with Serious Eats. You can also find this recipe, and other great ones, on their site.

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