During the cold winter months, satisfy your craving for comfort food with these easy, hearty recipes.
Chilli Con Carne (Jamie Oliver)
- 2 dried chillies , such as chipotle
- 2 red onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch of fresh coriander (30g)
- 3 fresh red chillies
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 500g minced pork
- 500g minced beef
- 4 x 400 g tins of plum tomatoes
- 3 mixed-colour peppers
- 2 x 400 g tins of kidney beans
- 2 carrots
- 1½ tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- Cover the dried chillies with boiling water and leave to rehydrate.
- Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic, pick the coriander leaves, then finely chop the stalks. Deseed and finely slice the fresh chillies.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil into a large pan over a medium heat, add the onions, garlic, coriander stalks and most of the fresh chilli, then cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft but not coloured.
- Peel and finely chop the carrots, add to the pan with the paprika, cinnamon and half the cumin seeds, and fry for a further 5 minutes.
- Reserving the soaking water, drain the rehydrated chillies, then finely chop and stir into the pan. Add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, then cook for 5 minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated and the meat has browned.
- Add the reserved soaking water followed by the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Season with sea salt and black pepper, then bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and leave to tick away for 1 to 2 hours, or until thickened.
- Meanwhile, char the peppers by carefully holding them with tongs over a flame or placing under the grill, turning regularly until blackened all over. Place in a bowl, cover and leave to steam for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Discard the blackened skin and seeds from the charred peppers, then slice into strips and add to the chilli.
- With 5 minutes to go, toast the cumin seeds in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Add a good drizzle of oil, drain and add the beans, then fry until crisp and starting to pop, tossing regularly. Season to taste, then tip into a serving bowl.
- Season the chilli to taste, remove the cinnamon stick, then scatter over the reserved fresh chilli, coriander leaves and popped beans. Delicious served with a dollop of yoghurt or soured cream.
Three Cheese Meatball Lasagne (Good Food)
- 12 sausages
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp dried oregano or a small handful of fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 500ml passata
- ¼ fresh nutmeg, finely grated
- 100g baby spinach
- handful basil, leaves torn
- 50g parmesan, grated
- 250g dried lasagne sheets (about 12 sheets)
- 50g cheddar, grated
- 150g ball mozzarella , torn into small pieces
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 100g butter
- 2 bay leaves
- 100g plain flour
- 1l milk
Squeeze the meat from the sausages and roll into meatballs – you’ll get about four balls from each sausage. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wide, deep frying pan or casserole dish. Cook the meatballs in batches, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan, until they’re all golden brown. Put them aside on a plate when they’re ready.
Heat the rest of the oil in the pan and add the onion. Cook for 8-10 mins until soft, then stir in the garlic, fennel, oregano and chilli, if using. Stir around for a min or 2, then add the sugar, passata and tomatoes. Swish a little water around the containers to wash out all the tomatoes and add to the pan. Season well and simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 mins over a gentle heat until the sauce thickens and the chopped tomatoes break down.
Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the bay leaves and let them sizzle in the butter for 1 min, then add the flour. Whisk to make a smooth paste, then add the milk, a little at a time, stirring continuously until it’s all incorporated and you have a thick white sauce. Add the nutmeg and some seasoning. Leave over a low heat for 5 mins to allow the bay to infuse, whisking every now and then.
Keep about 10 meatballs aside and add the rest to the tomato sauce. Spoon half the tomato sauce and meatballs into a baking dish (ours was 25cm x 35cm). Top with half the spinach, the basil and a little parmesan. Pour over about a third of the white sauce, and top with a layer of lasagne sheets, breaking them up to fit the dish if you need to.
Repeat the layers once more; meatballs and sauce, spinach, basil, parmesan, white sauce, pasta. Pour the remaining white sauce over the lasagne, spreading it to the corners to cover the pasta. Dot with the meatballs you set aside earlier and the mozzarella, then scatter over a generous helping of parmesan and cheddar. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Or if not eating straight away, chill for up to 24 hrs or freeze for two months (defrost in the fridge overnight before cooking).
Bake the lasagne for 40-50 mins until bubbling and golden with lots of crusty cheesy bits around the edges. Leave to sit for 5-10 mins before serving.
Ultimate Toad in the Hole (Good Food)
- 140g plain flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 8 rashers bacon
- 8 sausages
- 2 red onions, cut into wedges
- cooked green vegetables (optional), to serve
- mash (optional), to serve
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- handful of woody herbs, leaves picked and chopped (we used 6 sage leaves, 4 rosemary sprigs and 4 thyme sprigs), plus a handful, fried until crispy, to serve (optional)
For the gravy
- drizzle of sunflower oil
- 2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 250ml red wine
- 500ml chicken or beef stock
Tip the flour into a large jug or bowl. Crack in the eggs, one at a time, whisking as you do. Pour in the milk and continue whisking until you have a smooth, lump-free batter. Add the mustard, herbs and some seasoning, then cover and set aside for 2 hrs, or chill overnight.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Heat the oil in a large metal roasting tin or enamel baking dish, roughly 30 x 22cm, with high-ish sides. Wrap a rasher of bacon around each sausage and pop them in the dish with the onion wedges. Place on the middle shelf of the oven (make sure the top shelf is removed to allow space for the batter to rise later). Cook for 15-20 mins until the sausages and bacon are browning and sizzling.
- Meanwhile, make the gravy. Drizzle a little oil into a saucepan. Add the sliced onions and cook slowly for 15 mins. Stir every now and then until they are soft and caramelised. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, and cook for 5 mins more until sticky.
The batter should be the consistency of double cream - if it has become a little thick, add a splash of cold water. Take the batter to the oven, open the door, carefully pull out the shelf and quickly pour the batter around the sausages. Close the oven and do not open it again for at least 25 mins.
To finish the gravy, stir the flour into the onions to make a paste, cooking for 1-2 mins. Continue stirring while you splash in the wine, a little at a time, until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Increase the heat and bubble for a few mins until reduced by about half. Add the stock and some seasoning, and continue bubbling for 10 mins while the toad cooks.
By now the toad should be puffed up and deep golden brown. If not, continue cooking - but don't open the oven as it will sink. Serve scattered with the crisp herbs (if using), with the gravy, green veg, and mash, if you like.
Steak & Kidney Pie (BBC)
For the Base
- 300g puff pastry
- 1 egg and 1 extra egg yolk beaten together
For the Filling
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 700g braising steak
- 200g lamb kidney, diced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 30g plain flour
- 850ml beef stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- a dash of Worcestershire sauce
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan, and brown the beef all over. (You may need to do this in batches.) Set aside, then brown the kidneys on both sides in the same pan. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Return the beef to the pan, sprinkle flour over and coat the meat and onions
Add the stock to the pan, stir well and bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for 1½ hours without a lid. If the liquid evaporates too much, add more stock.
Remove from the heat. Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce and allow to cool completely. Place the cooked meat mixture into a pie dish.
Roll out the pastry to 5mm/¼in thick and 5cm/2in larger than the dish you are using.
Using a rolling pin, lift the pastry and place it over the top of the pie dish. Trim and crimp the edges with your fingers and thumb.
Brush the surface with the beaten egg mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden-brown and puffed.
Serve with creamy mash and steamed vegetables to soak up the gravy.