Whether you flavor the tomatoes with garlic or with celery, carrots, and onions, this sauce will become a kitchen staple. There are many nights when I open the fridge wondering what to cook, and I sigh with relief when I spy a quart of this sauce.
Since stuffing rarely appears separate from Thanksgiving, it’s an inherently nostalgic and meaningful dish. I bake my stuffing on a sheet pan so the crispy-to-soft ratio is basically one to one.
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.
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.
A homemade fish stock can make the difference between a good chowder and a great chowder. It’s worth asking your fish monger to save leftover fish bones for this.