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Ultimate comfort food recipes for the winter months

Butter Chicken  (c) Sam Ellis-Cosgrove
Butter Chicken (c) Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

With Christmas over and the New Year upon us, I can’t quite let go of the joy of Christmas food, especially with the shorter days and dark nights of January. Cosy suppers, warming stews and one pot bakes will be on the menu in our house and so this month I am sharing some of my ultimate comfort food recipes. I’m kicking it all off with a fabulous beef wellington (perfect for a New Year’s Eve supper), followed by my absolute favourite butter chicken, an indulgent truffle mac ‘n cheese and finishing with a very naughty panettone bread and butter pudding.

Great British Life: Butter Chicken (c) Sam Ellis-CosgroveButter Chicken (c) Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Butter Chicken recipe

This delicious curry is a staple in our house and a favourite of my supper club customers. It’s even better after a couple of days so do make it advance if you can. It’s great for entertaining as you can just warm it back through and serve with steamed rice and garlic naan.

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the marinade

600g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 4 pieces

50g natural yogurt

2 tsp grated ginger or ginger paste

2 tsp grated garlic or garlic paste

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp medium curry powder

1 tsp fine salt

For the sauce

50g butter

1 onion, finely diced

2 tsp grated ginger or ginger paste

2 tsp grated garlic or garlic paste

2 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp medium curry powder

3 tsp fenugreek leaves

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp fine salt

1 tin finely chopped tomatoes

500ml single cream

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220/200c fan

2. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and leave for a minimum of 1 hour but overnight if possible. Place the marinated chicken on an oven tray and cook for 20 minutes.

3. While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. In a heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter on a medium heat, add the onion and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Add the ginger, garlic, tomato puree, spices and fenugreek and cook for a further 5 minutes.

4. Add the chicken and its cooking juices, stir in the salt, tomatoes and cream. Cook on a low/medium heat for 35-40 minutes.

Great British Life: Truffle Mac & Cheese (c) Sam Ellis-CosgroveTruffle Mac & Cheese (c) Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese recipe

This grown-up mac ‘n’ cheese is, for me, the ultimate in indulgent comfort food. Satisfying on its own as a main course or serves 8 as a side.

Ingredients (serves 4)

500g macaroni, cooked

2 bay leaves

1 ltr whole milk

60g butter

60g plain flour

2 tbsp French mustard

2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked

2 tbsp truffle oil

1 tbsp porcini powder (optional, but worth it)

125g mozzarella

150g mature cheddar, grated

30g fresh breadcrumbs

30g parmesan, finely grated

Pinch white pepper

Method

1. In a small pan, warm the milk with the bay leaves. In a larger pan, melt the butter and add the flour and cook the paste for 4 minutes. Gradually add the milk (removing the bay leaves) then stir in the mustard, thyme, truffle oil, and porcini powder. Break in the mozzarella and add the cheddar, stir until smooth, season then add the macaroni.

2. Pre-heat your oven to 200/180c fan.

3. Transfer the macaroni to a large oven dish, cover with the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Great British Life: Beef Wellington (c) Sam Ellis-CosgroveBeef Wellington (c) Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Beef Wellington recipe

For as long as I can remember, New Year’s Eve has been spent with my oldest friend. We’ll have an afternoon walk to the pub, come home and change into our PJs, open a bottle of something fizzy and have beef wellington for supper. I absolutely recommend making this the day before, for a luxurious, low effort but impressive dish.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1kg beef fillet (ask your butcher for as even a thickness as possible)

2 tbsp olive oil

250g fresh wild mushrooms, very finely chopped

50g butter

2 sprigs thyme

100ml white wine

12 slices Parma ham

2 tbsp French mustard

2 packs ready rolled puff pastry

2 egg yolks beaten with 1tsp water

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Rub the beef in 1 tbsp of olive oil, season well and seal it in a hot pan on all sides, set aside to cool then leave in the fridge for half an hour.

2. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and butter, add the mushrooms and 1 sprig of thyme, season and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Tip the mushroom mixture into a bowl and allow to cool.

3. Lay a large piece of clingfilm on a board and place the ham slices on it in a double row, slightly overlapping. You should have a large rectangle, big enough to cover the fillet when wrapped around. Spread with the mushroom mixture to create a thin, even layer.

4. Brush the fillet with the mustard and place in the centre of the rectangle. Use the cling film to wrap the fillet in the ham and mushrooms, twisting the ends to create a tightly wrapped sausage shape. Chill in the fridge for an hour.

5. Lay out one sheet of pastry. Remove the cling film from the fillet and place it on the pastry. Wrap into a log shape, folding in the edges to create a seal (using some of the egg wash as glue).

6. Pre-heat your oven to 200/180c fan.

7. Use a lattice cutter to score along the second sheet of pastry. Brush the wellington with egg wash then carefully place the lattice strip over the top. Brush again gently with egg wash and decorate with thyme leaves. Sprinkle with salt flakes and bake for 25 minutes for medium rare/ 30 minutes for medium.

Great British Life: Panettone Pudding (c) Sam Ellis-CosgrovePanettone Pudding (c) Sam Ellis-Cosgrove

Panettone Pudding recipe

This rich boozy pud is a great way to use up any leftover panettone, and indeed any Christmas tipples. The custard in this elevated bread and butter pudding can be flavoured with any liqueur, although I like to use amaretto or Irish cream. You can also use any flavour of panettone you like; I’ve gone for a dark chocolate chip for this one as I’m not the biggest fan of raisins!

Ingredients (serves 4)

50g softened butter

250g panettone, sliced thickly

2 free range eggs, beaten

140ml double cream

200ml whole milk

50ml liqueur

1 tbsp caster sugar

Method

1. Pre-heat your oven to 160/140c fan.

2. Butter the panettone slices and arrange them in a shallow baking dish. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, liqueur and sugar and pour evenly over the panettone.

3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until just set and serve with cream or ice cream.



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