06 Jan Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Soul-Warming Cooking Techniques for Winter Weather
Are you looking for seasonable recipes to heat up your kitchen this winter? Our executive chef Danny Salazar shares, “Nothing makes a cold day more bearable than something hot and hearty out of the oven.” Braising and stewing are two of his favorite cold weather cooking techniques, both of which are essential to create mouthwatering, home-cooked winter meals.
Read on to learn more about Chef Danny’s favorite cooking methods and dishes, which we’re proud to serve at your wintertime event. He even shares one of his favorite cold weather recipes so you can re-create the dish at home.
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the gravy created by cooking. Vegetables and meat are the staple ingredients in any home-made stew. Poultry, sausages and seafood are often used, but beef tends to be the most popular because it is typically tougher, making it perfect for the slow cooking method.
Great choices for stewing include cuts like shoulder, round, rump or chuck. The good news is that these cuts of meat tend to be less expensive. Leaner, more expensive cuts of meats may easily become dry as a result of slow cooking, so they aren’t the optimal choice.
Stews can be thickened by reducing the liquid or by using flour—either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing or by using a roux consisting of equal parts fat and flour. Thickeners such as cornstarch and arrowroot may also be used in place of flour.
Feel free to add your favorite seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, fresh herbs) and cooking liquid (wine, stock, beer) to obtain mouth-watering flavor! Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature, so remember to simmer, not boil. This allows the flavors to mingle and shine through. No matter which ingredients you choose, a hearty slow-cooked stew is comforting, warming and guaranteed to leave bellies full during this winter season.
Robert Ryan Catering & Design’s Crowd-Pleasing Slow-Cooked Dishes:
- Shepard’s pie: tender meat and vegetables covered with mashed potato crust
- Chicken pot pie: creamy chicken stew loaded with vegetables and baked under a rich, flaky crust
- Irish beef stew: slow-cooked beef and root vegetables, served in a hearty gravy
As Chef Danny notes, the word braising originates from the French braiser, meaning to cook by browning in fat then simmering in a small quantity of liquid in a covered container. It is often referred to as pot-roasting.
Braising is a combination cooking method that uses both moist and dry heats. First you sear the meat at a high temperature. You can choose to sear the meat in a very hot pan with cooking oil, or you can sear it on the grill. Once the meat has been seared, place it in a roasting pan and douse it in a stock of your choosing, like beef, chicken or vegetable, to add flavor. Then cover the pan with a lid and place it in the oven at the desired temperature.
Robert Ryan Catering & Design’s Crowd-Pleasing Braised Dishes:
- Braised purple cabbage with golden raisins
- Braised boneless beef short ribs
- Braised bone-in pork roast
- Braised beef Burgundy with pearl onions and shiitake mushrooms
- Dry-rubbed braised beef brisket
Chef Danny’s Signature Recipe: Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs with a Red Wine Reduction
3 boneless beef short ribs
2 cups of red wine
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped
2 quarts of beef stock
Salt, pepper and garlic, to taste
Pre-heat the grill to 500°. Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Place your beef stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Season the boneless beef short ribs with salt, pepper and garlic. Place the ribs on the grill and sear all sides. Put the ribs in a roasting pan and add hot beef stock and chopped vegetables. Cover the roasting pan with a lid and put it in the oven for 3 hours (1 hour per pound). Remove the roasting pan from the oven and strain out the liquid.
Place the ribs back in the roasting pan and cover to keep hot. Bring your strained liquid to a boil, then add red wine. Let it reduce by half on low or medium heat. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and garlic to taste, and thicken the sauce with a roux or cornstarch mixed with a little bit of water. Pour the red wine reduction over the ribs and enjoy!
Want to get a taste of Chef Danny’s wintertime hearty dishes? Attend one of our exclusive tasting experiences.
Ready to start planning your party? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!
Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.