A Warming Winter Meal

Winter Recipes: Foods to Beat the Bitter Chill
Foods can be our best (and safest) medicine. Foods have an inherent temperature, taste, and direction. Many ancient cultures long ago discovered this and used it to their advantage when drugs, technology, and modern conveniences were not available. As we move into the coldest month of the year, it is good to review foods that are warming in nature. Eating warming foods at this time of year can make the winter chill an exhilarating welcome experience. Among warming/hot foods to include in your cooking, consider:

Warming foods:
Grains: oats, quinoa, spelt, sweet rice
Vegetables: caper, kale, leek, onion, parsnip, winter squash, sweet potato, watercress
Fruit: blackberry, cherry, date, peach
Beans: black beans
Nuts: chestnuts, pine kernels, walnuts
Fish: anchovy, eel, lobster, mussels, shrimp
Meat: chicken, ham, kidney, liver, pheasant
Dairy: butter
Herbs: aniseed, basil, bay, caraway, cardamom, carob, clove, cumin, dill, fennel, fresh ginger, juniper, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, turmeric

Hot foods:
Fish: trout
Meat: lamb
Herbs: cayenne, chili, cinnamon bark, garlic, dry ginger, horseradish, mustard, pepper

Source: Helping Ourselves, Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics
By Daverick Leggett

With this as a guide, you can mix and match ingredients to create your own warming treatslike cinnamon oatmeal with dried cherries or tabouli with parsley, garlic, and quinoa. It is interesting to note that lamb is the only animal meat that is hot in temperature and that beef, with a neutral temperature is not on the list of warming foods.

Winter Soups: Chestnut Soup with parsnips and sherry
Warming Red Lentil Stew with parsnips, onion, cumin, parsley

Winter Side Dishes: Wild Rice with leeks, shitakes, dried cherries, & nuts
Kale with Shitake Mushrooms with ginger or garlic

Winter main course: Lamb Shanks with garlic and rosemary

Chestnut Soup
2 onions, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
3 T. butter or e.v. olive oil
6 cups filtered water or chicken stock
cup sherry
Pinch cayenne pepper and nutmeg
1 T. dried thyme
4 cups fresh peeled chestnuts

Melt butter in a stock pot and saut onions and parsnips until soft. Add water or stock, chestnuts, and sherry. Bring to boil and skim off foam. Add seasonings and simmer, covered for 15+ minutes. Puree and serve.
Source: Adapted from Sally Fallon

Warming Red Lentil Stew
1 c. red lentils
1 medium onion
1 parsnips or carrots
1 T. umeboshi vinegar or 2 T. lemon
1 T. cumin
1 t. sea salt
1 T. sesame or olive oil
Chopped parsley or scallion for garnish
5 cups water

Cut all veggies in small pieces and saut them 10 minutes.
Add washed lentils and water. Bring to boil. Skim foam. Lower heat, add cumin and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add umeboshi or lemon and salt and simmer another 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley or scallion and serve.
Source: Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Festive Wild Rice
8 oz. wild rice
2 1/3 c. liquid or broth
2 T. butter, melted
2 leeks, sliced, white & pale green parts
4 oz. shitake mushrooms, fresh, sliced
c. almonds, chopped
c. dried cherries or cranberries
Salt and Pepper

Cook rice: Bring broth to a boil. Stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45-50 minutes. Remove from stove and let rest 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. Or: prepare in rice cooker with same proportions.

In a separate pan, saut leeks in butter for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and saut 2 more minutes. Stir in nuts, cranberries, and beans. Gently add to cooked rice. Serves 4-5.
Adapted from Lunderg Farms

Stir-Fry Kale with Shitake Mushrooms
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
pound shitake mushrooms, stems removed, washed and chopped
2 cloves garlic or piece fresh ginger, minced
1 T. olive oil or unrefined coconut oil

Warm oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic or ginger and cook, stirring 2-3 minutes.
Add shitakes and stir fry for 5 minutes.
Add chopped kale, and stir fry for a few minutes.
Add splash of water to the pan, cover and let steam for 5 minutes.

So Simple Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks
Place 4-6 lamb shanks in a 6-8 quart slow cooker. Cover with filtered water. Add garlic cloves and fresh rosemary to suit your taste. Cook on medium to high about 4-6 hours.
Note: You may want to brown lamb shanks first, but I find this is not essential if you are in a hurry.

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