Sydney-based chef, Guy Turland, wishes he could live an endless summer, but if there’s one thing he loves about winter, it’s winter warmer recipes.
I love the respect, time and effort that must go into winter cooking. Slow roasting, braising, risotto and soup - it’s all about transforming simple, bland or tough ingredients into something tender, flavoursome and special. It’s a real art, but not always difficult to do.
Here are six of my top tips for winter cooking:
1. Master the slow cooking
Slow cooking methods like braising, slow roasting and confit will change the way you look at winter. I call these methods ‘shoot and forget’ recipes. They take a little more time to prepare but once they’re in the oven you can pretty much forget about them until you get back from work or from a long surf. Believe me, the extra preparation and time is well worth the result, what was once tough meat is now tender, hot, fall off the bone winter goodness.
2. Don’t be afraid of rice
Rice is such a great staple for winter, it’s so fragrant and can be a really great addition to many dishes. A lot of people can be afraid of cooking rice, however it’s quite simple if you learn one method and master it. My favourite is the absorption method, it’s so quick and easy and gives you rice that’s so full of flavour. When it comes to buying and cooking rice, quality is key. I’ve been trying SunRice’s Rain Fed Rice, which is great for dishes like Pilaf where you want a lot of flavour.
3. Keep it green
Don’t be afraid to go meat free this winter. Get creative with your winter vegetables cooking methods, like BBQing and char-grilling slices of cauliflower and fennel just like you would a steak. You could also stuff and roast veggies like eggplant, sweet potato and pumpkin, treating it like you would a whole chicken!
4. Cook extra veg
When preparing your winter roast, always prep and roast extra veggies. Left over veg make for the best and easiest winter soups. When you roast vegetables it draws out and caramelizes the natural sugars resulting in an intense rich flavour.
5. Stock up
Store bought stocks can be high in salts and preservatives, and can have a dramatic impact on the flavour and health benefits of your soup. Home made stocks and bone broths are healthier for you, cheap to make, and always taste better. To make it easier for yourself, make large batches and freeze them ready for your next recipe.
6. Make soups with substance
Give your soups substance by adding grains, legumes and rice to make a heartier meal. These additions will give your soup more body, which will leave you feeling full, warm and satisfied - which is great on a chilly night!
Guy Turland is a Sydney-based chef with a passion for seasonal cooking and locally-sourced, sustainable produce. He is one half of the social media cooking sensation, Bondi Harvest.