Long, cold New England winters would be unbearable if it weren’t for braises. There’s a solid six months between picking the last of the summer’s tomatoes and trimming the first spear of asparagus, and during that time I turn to sturdy long-cooked recipes like these short ribs, which have the added benefit of warming your kitchen as they cook. This is a recipe intended for a cold day, when the wind is blowing sideways and the snow shoveling feels never-ending.
Milk may not seem a likely braising liquid, but it works beautifully, tenderizing the meat and combining with the chicken juices and spices to create the sauce. You can brown the meat in advance, assemble the braise and refrigerate it, then pop it into the oven just before you want to eat; in under an hour you’ll have a comforting main course that’s perfect for a snowy evening.
This is one of Faith’s favorite go-to soup-as-a-meal recipes. She prefers red lentils, simply because she finds them beautiful, but you could use brown lentils if that’s what you have or what you like. As a last step, she uses an immersion blender to thicken the soup, but you don’t have to if you like the texture of the plump cooked lentils as they are.
Aside from its comfort and restorative potential, it’s also just plain ol’ delicious.
The same way I save the chicken carcass after a chicken dinner to make stock, I save lobster shells all summer long and turn them into broth. You can do this with shrimp shells, too. What do the shells add to the broth? A beautiful brininess. It’s the essence of the sea.