Martha's Cold-Weather Comfort Food Recipes
Freezing temperatures and biting winds aren't all bad, if you consider that they're prime weather conditions for the kinds of hearty, cozy meals that fill your home with delicious aromas and fill you with a wonderful feeling of satisfied warmth.
It'll come as no surprise that Martha's favorite comfort foods include mac and cheese (and her recipe is a winner, combining sharp white cheddar, Gruyere, and Pecorino Romano) and roast chicken. But her list of top comfort food classics has a few surprises, too. Take, for instance, her long-standing love of pierogi, the delectable Polish dumplings that her mother, Big Martha, made so well in many incarnations. Among them: potato, sweet cabbage, blueberry, peach, plum, and apricot (Martha shares four fabulous recipes in this collection). And while our founder loves classic indulgent pasta dishes such as Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Fettuccine Alfredo, she also shares her recipe for a lesser-known (but no less tasty) noodle dish known as Three-Garlic Pasta, which incorporates garlic three ways: raw, roasted, and fried.
Beyond roast chicken, there are Chicken Potpies with Puff Pastry, Braised Short Ribs, and Sauerbraten, a German meal in which bottom round is braised with onions, ketchup, vinegar, and red wine (the recipe comes from Martha's childhood neighbor Mr. Maus).
As they're in season during the coldest months of the year, apples feature in Martha's rotation of comforting, hearty desserts, from Tarte Tatin to Apple-Raisin Pandowdy to her famed Mile-High Apple Pie. And lest we forget, nothing kicks off a snow day better than a comfort-food breakfast starring a loaf of homemade brioche, French toast, or yeasty, pecan-studded Sticky Buns.
"I am often asked the question: What is your favorite type of food?" Martha says. "Although I always answer Japanese, the real response should be and is pierogi, the delectable Polish dumplings that my mother, Big Martha, made so well in many incarnations: potato, sweet cabbage, blueberry, peach, plum, and apricot."
Pierogi with Potato Filling and Brown Butter
Pierogi with Cabbage Filling and Clarified Butter
Pierogi with Blueberry Filling and Spiced Sour Cream
Pierogi with Italian Plum Filling and Spiced Sour Cream
Pierogi show more of their sweet side here with a filling of sugar-stuffed Italian plums. Serve with sweetened sour cream mixed with vanilla extract and freshly grated nutmeg.
Perfect Macaroni and Cheese
Perfect Roast Chicken
The almost universal appeal of roast chicken stems from its power to comfort. The ideal roast chicken—golden brown and gleaming, tender and juicy—engages each sense. The crackle of chicken as it cooks and the wondrous aroma that perfumes the kitchen provoke a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Devil's Food Cake with Milk-Chocolate Frosting
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
An Italian classic, a simple sauce of pancetta, cream, eggs, and Parmesan coats al dente spaghetti in this justifiably famous pasta dish.
Pear Brown Bettys
A rich, buttery loaf like this is wonderful with morning coffee, and it can also be used to make a really decadent French toast.
Martha's French Toast
A real crowd pleaser, this French toast recipe wins at breakfast or brunch. Fresh orange zest and juice, as well as orange liqueur, add a bright, citrusy flavor to every delicious slice. Serve it with butter, sanding sugar, or pure maple syrup.
A pandowdy is closely related to a pie—without the bottom crust. Its pastry top is broken with a spoon halfway through cooking so the collapsed bits soak up the juices and soften. For Martha's favorite recipe, we used brown sugar and apples and raisins laced with cardamom and allspice.
This sticky bun recipe is adapted from a version by baker Seth Greenberg, owner of Just Desserts.