When the cold draws in at night in winter or just because you live in a cold region, one of the things you want is to put on a big fire. If you can’t do that then the heating gets turned up and the warm clothing comes out. But, the one thing that brings the most pleasure is to have a bowl of something hearty and warming. A proper bowl of love in the form of food.
There are some wonderful dishes out there that can make the coldest or gloomiest night much lighter and enjoyable. The sort of meals that bring you and your partner or family together through food. This type of food can rarely be got from a takeaway because it needs to be made with the love of someone who knows who they are feeding.
So, what are the best winter warmers and how can you cook them at home?
What is gutsy or comfort food?
Although it is easy to think of cold nights when considering these dishes, the truth is they are just general comforters. If you are feeling a bit down, or under the weather, alone and missing home; these might be the sort of foods you need at that moment.
Gutsy food isn’t about expensive ingredients or fancy plate dressing. It is about proper food that tastes great and satisfies. It is about forgetting diets and weight loss and making sure the body and soul are taken care of. In short, comfort food should make you feel good.
The best comfort foods
Different countries and regions have their favorites and in the UK you might get bangers and mash, cottage pie, or beef and Guinness stew. For the confused out there, bangers and mash are just sausages and mashed potato, and then onion gravy and peas might be added or baked beans. You’re now wondering why the British eat baked beans aren’t you?
In the States, you might think of comfort food like chili, slow cooked lamb tacos, Italian meatballs, and lasagna. Luckily all these dishes lend themselves to home cooking and mean you can curl up on the sofa or gather at the kitchen table for a hot bowl of goodness.
How to make these dishes at home
Sushi may be good for you but when it comes to comfort you want homemade mac n cheese. Actually, mac n cheese is the perfect meal to do in a slow cooker although it works equally well cooked normally so if you have an Instant Pot then you can choose which method you prefer.
The one thing about comfort food is those sorts of dishes often take time to do. If you are imagining slow-cooked tender meat then you know it could be a couple of hours of cooking time. Luckily the Instant Pot pressure cooks and delivers tasty meals in a very short time so it is ideal for this type of cooking. If you wanted mac n cheese it would be ready in about ten minutes, a good lamb stew could take over two hours but the recipe here only takes about 25 minutes of cooking time.
If you like the idea of this sort of cooking then an Instant Pot is definitely worth your consideration as there are many other benefits too.
Why is an Instant Pot good for comfort food?
When you want something hearty and comforting you don’t want to spend hours cooking or if you are planning ahead then slow cooking is ok as long as you can let it cook itself.
An Instant Pot is a multicooker that lets you pressure cook, slow cook, saute, and has other features too. As the name implies it is perfect for one-pot cooking and it does it very quickly which means you save time and money on energy bills. As a bonus, it is also pretty eco-friendly due to the reduced cooking times.
Imagine feeling that you would like a thick soup of beans, bacon, potato, and other vegetables to be ready when you came home in the dark on a cold evening. If you invest in a few minutes in the morning putting the ingredients in the Instant Pot along with water or broth and set the timer you could come home in the evening to find it ready, waiting, and hot.
Comfort food isn’t supposed to make you feel guilty, after all, you can always lose weight at the gym later so enjoy your cooking with no guilt attached. Sitting down on the sofa in front of the fire on a cold evening with a bowl of slow-cooked chili would brighten up anyone’s mood.
Luckily there are many recipes online for comfort food and if you have an Instant Pot you will be able to find hundreds reworked especially for cooking with that appliance.