This week I’m craving… stick-to-your-ribs grub and an American one-pot wonder.
The temperatures dropped in the UK this week after the unseasonably mild spell we’d been having. I for one am quite glad. I love winter and everything that comes with it (freezing temperatures and ice included). Snow isn’t just for white Christmasses. Of course, cooler days call for hot and filling meals at the end of them. This week I’ve been craving proper stick-to-your-ribs food, American style, with enough side dishes to make the feast last the entire week!
My culinary inspiration for the week ahead:
Cardiff used to have a variety of American style restaurants, but for some reason or other they’ve never stuck. People seem to prefer tacos to food from the Deep South. Apart from the BBQ revival, which is everywhere! I’d like to champion some other “proper American” grub that is so yummy, yet doesn’t crop up on many meus. Here’s a recipe that only takes a fraction of the time a real gumbo would take (fancy making proper seafood stock anyone?). It’s a paleo recipe, but I’m sure no one will mind if you sub the almond flour for cornflour or plain. Leave out the oysters or okra if you can’t get hold of them, just add more veg!
A real American feast would be incomplete without cornbread. Or so a former American flatmate would swear. She introduced the whole house to the delights of black eyed beans, cornbread and granola (unheard of in the UK before 2006). I’ve longed to make some myself – and really, what better to soak up those gorgeous gumbo juices with? You can make it sweet or savoury and go mad with spices; a honey cinnamon breakfast batch and a smoked paprika supper batch would be my idea of heaven.
Corn on the cob
The quintessentially American, stuck in your teeth (rather than stick to your ribs) side. Shove them in the oven and forget about them until they’re golden brown and juicy. Add a bit of butter and sea salt flakes (and cayenne for those of you who like it hot). Yes, it’s a bit messy to eat but that’s part of the fun. Just lay out some toothpicks for after.
Winter slaw with maple candied nuts
Coleslaw has never been my favourite salad, especially the sort you get from the deli aisle in the supermarket. Limp texture and a dull creamy taste doesn’t exactly call for a party in the mouth. But when you do coleslaw right (read fresh crunchy veg and a zing of vinegar or lemon), it’s heaven. This version with candied maple nuts is right up my street.
Chocolate chestnut pie
For afters you can’t go wrong with a pie. Ditch the traditional apple pie for now, and cherry is just too much of a faff (unless you buy them pre-stoned). Instead, use up that canned chestnut puree that’s left over from Christmas in this divinely smooth chocolate chestnut pie. Probably one of my favourite pie recipes ever.
What’s on your menu this week? Are any of these dishes making your mouth water?