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.
Chocolate and beets are a natural pair. The earthiness of the beets contrasts with the richness and sweetness of chocolate. The milk chocolate frosting on this cake is laced with orange zest—orange tastes great with both chocolate and beets.
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.
There are endless variations of New England chowders, some that use only clams and others that rely on a wide variety of fish and shellfish, like this one from Kathy Gunst. It’s endlessly adaptable; you can add lobster, mussels, or other firm fish, depending on where you live and what you have access to.
The Champagne is for celebratory effect more than anything, but we love it.