Help me find hot creamy winter recipes
June 13, 2012 7:02 PM   Subscribe

It's getting towards the depths of winter, ski season has begun, and I find myself wanting to eat nothing but melted cheese, with buckets of hot caramel sauce for dessert. Can you help me find slightly less decadent recipes with the same mouthfeel?

I'm basically looking for hot and creamy, preferably savoury rather than sweet (I'm actually trying not to eat sugar at the moment, but I'm cool with fruit-based things). I don't want to substitute with frankeningredients. And I'd prefer that I can eat a large bowl full of whatever the recipe is without the sort of gastro-intestinal consequences eating a bowl of melted cheese might have.

I'm a pretty competent cook, not averse to complicated recipes, and have no allergies or other dietary restrictions other than avoiding sugar as much as possible. (The gallstone thing that people might remember from a previous question has sorted itself out.) I don't have many kitchen appliances, so if it needs a food processor or heavy duty blender, it's probably out. (I have a stick blender for soups).

So far I have:
mashed potato/purees of other vegetables
thick stews of various sorts
creamed frozen spinach with butter or sesame oil
poached eggs (the yolks are doing it for me), esp on rice or in miso soup
posted by lollusc to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
How about tomato bisque? You can make a low-fat version.

I just tried a recipe for 'fauxtatoes' that I liked - it's essentially mashed potatoes but you just put in like one potato and the rest is blended cauliflower. Then you can put some butter, ground pepper, and garlic on it and it was quite good.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:09 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: First of all, don't slam that bowl of melted cheese. Shared with a few other people, and supplemented with veggies like asparagus or roasted brussels sprouts, a fondue is a miraculous thing.

Having said that, I recommend split pea soup, cream of potato soup, and the most fattening beef stew ever created. Then again, those are all probably about as decadent as fondue.

You might try doenjang jjigae, which is like spicy thick miso that you can pour over rice and eat as a porridge.
posted by brina at 7:12 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mashed sweet potatoes are surprisingly rich even with not a lot of butter. I like sauteeing onions, adding ginger, garlic, curry powder, and hot pepper and then adding that to the mashed sweet potatoes.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:15 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Roasted butternut squash soup (with just a tiny bit of cream) can be amazingly rich, while being pretty darn healthy. I don't have a single recipe to link to -- but there are a lot out there. I always use the stick blender for mine.
posted by pantarei70 at 7:16 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do they have Laughing Cow Cheese in Australia? The Laughing Cow light wedges are only 35 cal and very satisfying!
posted by radioamy at 7:22 PM on June 13, 2012

Maybe mac and cheese with soft, overcooked pasta?

Potato soup with caramelized onions. Caramelize the onions in butter over very low heat for a good hour. While that's going on, peel and cube potatoes and boil them in salted water until soft. Mix the onions and the potatoes together and whiz in a blender with a bit of milk or cream or even just stock to the desired consistency.
posted by elizeh at 7:22 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Greek yogurt is my go-to when I want something creamy but healthy. The plain stuff is a good substitute for sour cream - on potatoes, in black bean soup, etc.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:24 PM on June 13, 2012

Response by poster: Do they have Laughing Cow Cheese in Australia?

Greek yogurt is my go-to when I want something creamy but healthy.

Just to clarify: I'm looking for HOT recipes. My Greek yogurt is a big staple in summer, but it's currently languishing in the fridge because brrr!
posted by lollusc at 7:26 PM on June 13, 2012

Best answer: I'm looking for HOT recipes.

Hot, creamy, and savory?

You want bagna cauda. The name means "hot bath" and it is amazing.

Melt a goodly amount of butter and olive oil (say 4 to 6 tablespoons total, adjust the butter-oil ratio to suit) in a pan, along with a few fillets of anchovy (packed in oil, not in vinegar). Stir. When the butter is melted and the anchovy mostly dissolved, pour in about a cup of milk or cream. Stir briskly and heat until it foams up and becomes thick.

Serve in a chafing dish, over a candle. Dip vegetable crudite and hold them over a slice of baguette to catch the drips.
posted by gauche at 7:37 PM on June 13, 2012 [9 favorites]

Try this pudding.
chocolate batter part: lightly beat 3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1tsp vanilla extract.
sift ½ cup flour, 2-3 tbsp cocoa, ½ cup caster sugar. mix wet ingredients into dry until smooth.

Grease a large shallow baking dish (otherwise it sticks to the bottom quite badly). cover the bottom with ~300g berries (frozen works well). pour the batter over it. it should only be 3-4 cm deep. bake in preheated oven at 180 for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. mine didn’t look cooked in the middle as the berries made it a bit soggy, but it was – test at the edges where there aren’t so many berries and the mixture bubbles up over them. don’t overcook.

v. good with whipped cream!!

I use Woolies home-brand cocoa, and coconut flour (instead of wheat flour). make it the day before, then reheat. Adjust sugar to taste; personally I like this pudding to taste less sweet.

I got my coconut flour from the health food shop at the Belco markets.
posted by flutable at 7:41 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've added a surprisingly small amount of crumbled crispy bacon to mashed potatoes (during the mashing) and found it took it to a different level.
posted by Drumhellz at 7:44 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

sauteed vegetables (and some stir fried meat if you want) swimming in delicious peanut sauce. Over low carb noodles, ideally, but fine just in a bowl.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:50 PM on June 13, 2012

Best answer: Dals in general, but specifically Dal Makhani is just so, so perfect for this. The Urad Dal used has a similar, somewhat gelatinous, quality to okra - the beauty of this is that a small amount of cream goes a lot further and you end up with a rich, unctuous dal that tastes far more rich than it actually is. The wiki page shows a basic recipe but there are tonnes out there. Anything using urad dal will possess the same qualities and I can confirm it goes great in the pressure cooker, too, should you have one.

In the same vein, the Irish recipe, Yellow broth uses the collageneous quality of oats to the same effect for a hearty, spinachy stew with a surprisingly small amount of cream. I eat mostly vegetarian at home, but it pairs very well with chicken.

Continuing with the meat theme, Oxtail stew, with gelatin from the tail, and if you throw some shin bones in there as well, will also give you that rich, silky mouthfeel you crave. That particular recipe is very tomato-based, here's a more traditional recipe.

Finally, the humble potage bonne femme achieves a similar feat with the use of potatoes reducing the amount of cream required. The extra disciplined could use evaporated milk (surprisingly delicious!) to substitute if they wanted a creamier, richer taste without the fat content.
posted by smoke at 7:53 PM on June 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

Agreed about tomato soup/bisque-- with added wilted spinach and cannellini beans. The beans are silky and the spinach adds just enough of a "giving" bite. My favorite simple wintertime recipe.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:54 PM on June 13, 2012

Pasta carbonara is a personal favorite that satisfies in every way imaginable. Pasta, cheese, eggs, pork, black pepper. YUM.

The recipe here is pretty close to the method I use.

It may take a couple of tries to get the final product perfectly creamy, but even if the eggs get a bit scrambly, it's still fantastic. One thing I do to maximize the creaminess is to temper the egg/cheese mix with a little hot pasta water before mixing everything together.
posted by ronofthedead at 8:22 PM on June 13, 2012

Best answer: You might try doenjang jjigae, which is like spicy thick miso that you can pour over rice and eat as a porridge.

I really love this suggestion. Generally miso is a wonderful ingredient to add body and creaminess; any kind of miso soup is wonderful for winter, as well as simmered dishes with miso in the sauce. Tofu also adds that kind of mouth feel in simmered dishes.

Thai curries made with coconut milk seem incredibly decadent but you can use lower-fat coconut milk.

And congee! If you cook rice with the right broth, it doesn't have to have dairy in it at all to taste creamy.
posted by BibiRose at 8:47 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Butternut squash & blue cheese risotto. Risotto in generally seems like it would hit the "creamy" button well.

I also love cheddar & broccoli soup and use this recipe which uses milk instead of cream and is still quite yummy.
posted by maryr at 8:53 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

This recipe for Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup is amazingly creamy and delicious. I didn't even know I liked butternut squash before trying it. The only really fattening element is 3 oz. of cream cheese, but you can substitute light cream cheese or reduce the amount you put in (or maybe try subbing lowfat sour cream? I've not tried that one) to make it even healthier.

Oh man, I can't wait for it to be winter here again so I can revel in the squashy goodness...
posted by DingoMutt at 9:44 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

(Sorry, forgot to mention: I know the recipe calls for a blender but I believe the last time I made it I used my stick blender. It took a while but it all worked out just fine - the trick is to make sure you've cooked the squash and everything enough so that it's super tender - so if you're patient, this should still be doable with your stick blender)
posted by DingoMutt at 9:49 PM on June 13, 2012

Response by poster: I'm marking as best answers things I hadn't thought about before, rather than all the things that fit the bill. And bagna cauda too because it sounds amazing, even though eating a vat of olive oil and butter doesn't sound all that different from eating a pot of melted cheese, healthwise :)

Incidentally, I'm quite happy to have recipes with relatively high fat content/calorie content - things with cream cheese, or normal cheese, or whatever are just fine, as long as they provide decent nutritional content too, and could conceivably be eaten by a reasonable person in a big bowl as a dinner (neither of which are the case with the above-mentioned bowl of melted cheese/vat of caramel sauce that I've been craving). So super rich beef stew - yes; soups with cheese or cream - yes; bowl of hot cream by itself, not so much; mac & cheese or carbonara - borderline.
posted by lollusc at 10:40 PM on June 13, 2012

I too am suffering through an Australian winter*. Some recipes I like when it's chilly:

Goulash and sour cream or yoghurt.
Chicken cacciatore
Chili with cheese (Don't have a recipe for this on me, but there's actually a pretty good lean beef one you can buy in a can at many supermarkets)
Beef or chicken stroganoff. (I haven't tried that exact recipe, but the one I have is fairly similar.
Chicken and Corn soup (1 onion sauted in butter, add 1/2 a cooked chook, 1 can corn, 1 can creamed corn and 1L chicken stock. Simmer for 5 minutes. Thicken with cornflour. Can also add chili, celery, capsicum and/or carrot in with the onion)
Dhal (need to put enough salt in it and simmer it for long enough for the lentils to really decitigrate)
Gnocchi (also make excellent dumpling substitutes in goulash)

And I know you don't like processed food, but I really like Cream of Chicken Cuppa-soups to scratch the creamy itch. Plus you get to hold a warm mug.

*and I know that Sydney isn't really cold, but we don't have central heating here, so it's often well below a comfortable temperature inside buildings.
posted by kjs4 at 11:34 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As an addendum to the excellent Korean suggestion, I would add soondubu chigae. It's a soft tofu stew and it is SO good for cold days. I think if you had the right ingredients it would not be difficult to make.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:43 PM on June 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I have a recipe for pasta and mussels that is fiddly but VERY tasty and fits your description.

It goes something like this:

Steam some mussels in sherry or white wine, shell the mussels, discard the shells.
Strain the leftover mussel cooking juice and add a tin of chopped tomatoes and PLENTY of double cream. Optionally whiz the sauce with a stick blender until smooth.

Reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Put the mussels back at the last minute to make sure they are heated through.

Cook up some spaghetti, serve with the sauce.
posted by emilyw at 12:49 AM on June 14, 2012

Risotto is definitely the answer. All the creaminess comes from rice starch that slowly leaks out into the broth. Of course, it is finished with parm and a knob of butter, but there's no cream in standard risotto. Plus, it doesn't get much warmer than standing over a simmering saucepan stirring constantly.*

* Constant stirring not necessary, but certainly doesn't hurt.
posted by supercres at 5:11 AM on June 14, 2012

Best answer: Along the risotto vein: I make a baked barley "risotto." I can no longer find the recipe and it's so changed that even if I could it wouldn't be the same, but:

Fry some garlic & onions in butter in an oven-safe dish (I use a cast-iron dutch oven)(you can add other things here too -- chilis or mushrooms, that sort of thing)
toss in some white wine (not too much)
toss in a bunch of dried barley, cook stirring until wine has absorbed
add other things you'll want in there (I do mushrooms frequently, but spinach and tomatoes are nice too)
add enough water to cook the barley and another knob of butter
stick in 350 degree oven
remove when cooked through (you may need to add more water at some point)
Right when you take it out of the oven, stir in more butter and your cheese of choice (parm works very well, but a nice chevre is good too)

Do not make too much of this -- barley is very filling. But it's creamy and soft and just a bit toothsome, and barley is good for you!
posted by AmandaA at 6:35 AM on June 14, 2012

I adore this as a delicious but still reasonably healthy meal. Step one - order some awesome Indian food. For me this is usually butter chicken, saag paneer (or lamb) and nawabi subz korma. Eat with rice or naan, as you prefer.

Step two - keep all the leftover sauce. The next day, throw two eggs in a pan with a splash of milk, turn on high and constantly stir with a spatula. You should have creamy scrambled eggs in about two minutes. Dump the eggs into a bowl, then put the leftover sauces into the pan. Let them heat for a few minutes, then slide ontop of the eggs. I usually don't mix the sauces in the pan, so I have three separate warm sauces on the eggs. Then, I usually eat it with saltine crackers. So delicious.
posted by valoius at 12:57 PM on June 14, 2012

Mushroom soup

(This isn't the exact recipe I use, but is close enough. I don't strain the soup at the end as I don't mind a bit of texture. I also add a quarter tsp of chilli powder to give it a wee kick.)
posted by piyushnz at 1:10 PM on June 14, 2012

I put yogurt in everything to make it creamy. It does not have to be cold. For example, I just had a bowl of beans and veggies for lunch. It was hot. After cooking, I added olive oil and yogurt to make it good, creamy and delicious.

I could eat everything for the rest of my life salty and creamy so I go through a lot of rich greek yogurt...
posted by Vaike at 8:28 AM on June 17, 2012

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