Winter Staff Recommendations

Justin


Seafood may not be top of mind for most people when they think of winter foods, but Europeans eat a lot of seafood around the holidays, and at our house so do we. A current favorite is langoustine, aka Norway lobster, a cold-water prawn. The simplest and possibly most delicious way to prepare langoustines is to boil them whole in heavily salted water for 3-4 minutes and serve them with a side of aioli for dipping. If you’re feeling ambitious, they are a great addition to paella.


My wife, Orsi, is from Hungary and I ask her to make goulash all the time, especially in the winter (though apparently, it’s not as much of a staple there as we think it is). Beef is the favored meat for goulash. You can use almost any cut; we certainly have over the years. A braising cut, like bolar blade, will need to cook a little longer. Bolar is part of the chuck, or shoulder, and offers excellent flavor. It’s also a great cut to use for pot roast, stew, or ground meat dishes.


Winter also puts me in mind of hot pot, the Chinese dish where you simmer a pot of broth at the table and cook all manner of meats and vegetables in it. Iberico pork lomo (striploin) is incredible in hot pot. Slice it as thinly as possible and don’t leave it in the bubbling broth too long.


Speaking of broth, you can’t go wrong with a batch of chicken soup in these chilly months, made with our Shenandoah Valley organic chickens, of course.


Our Wild Mushroom Sampler includes a selection of whatever is foraged fresh in any given week. Hedgehog and black trumpet mushrooms are my favorites. When I have enough mushrooms, I’ll make mushroom duxelles and then who knows what will happen next. Maybe I’ll stuff some quail or tuck some into baked oysters. I might even attempt a Beef Wellington, a worthwhile winter cooking project if ever there was one.



Sarah


I love cozy weather comfort foods. In winter, I braise away! Nothing sticks to your ribs like braised beef chuck roast with a hearty side of veggies. To warm the bones, I love osso bucco. Making it with our New Zealand farm-raised venison really elevates the meal. Venison is super lean so it’s relatively guilt free and oh-so-tender --a really delicious alternative to commodity beef shanks.


In the winter I also love to make a classic shepherd’s pie with minced lamb. It’s delicious, comforting, plus gives me an excuse to eat mashed potatoes.


Nothing beats a whole-roasted herb chicken to brighten up a dreary winter day. It’s an easy weeknight dinner that requires little prep, especially with our Shenandoah Valley Organic chicken which tastes so good on its own with little seasoning.


Iberico pork tenderloin would be a star on any dinner table. An herb-crusted pork tenderloin makes a festive and tasty centerpiece for entertaining friends. Iberico pork tenderloins are smaller than your average pork tenderloins so it’s great these come in bulk to make bigger batches for parties. It also tastes naturally delicious, so you don’t need to doctor it up with a bunch of ingredients, unless you want to.



Tracy


I love to add smoked salmon to cream cheese as a dip with crackers. It’s a family favorite! I smoke fresh salmon fillets in the summer, so I can keep them on hand through the fall and winter.


Mushrooms are another favorite. I like our organic mushroom sampler because I’ll add mushrooms to anything I can. Mostly I rock them oven-roasted with chicken breasts. When I roast a whole chicken, it feels like a mini holiday.


Angus beef cheeks are great for a slow braise that fills my home with lovely and inviting smells. Blood oranges are wonderful to use in deserts, like blood orange curd cookies or blood orange cake. Their color is so gorgeous is really lifts the spirits on a gray winter’s day.



Suzanne


When the nights are long and the PNW days are gray I turn to bright flavor to buoy my spirits. Our red snapper filets have great texture in a citrus forward gameday ceviche.


Iberico presa (should eye steak) is an amazing cut to simply season, give a good sear in a cast iron pan and oven finish to medium rare. Pair it with a smokey romesco sauce well balanced with sherry vinegar. Presa is impressive enough for entertaining and easy enough for a weeknight at home.


A slow roasted Kurobuta pork shoulder (Boston Butt) seasoned with salt, pepper, and brown sugar is the gift that keeps on giving as it finds its way into soups, tacos, and lettuce wraps. I like to cook it until it is spoon tender, shred it, and give it a flash under the broiler when ready to serve. Pair it with a variety of pickled things to bend it to your will.


Shenandoah Valley Organic boneless chicken thighs have so much flavor and are on our dinner table at least once a week. And grass-fed inner skirt steaks take marinades so beautifully, they top grain and vegetable bowls at our house regularly, be it with gochunjang and kimchi or a tomatillo salsa.



Charlie


Baby, it’s cold outside, so I take the cooking inside. I turn to meats that cook low and slow, dishes that take their sweet time achieving greatness. That could mean red-wine braised venison osso bucco, or chile verde with smoked pork cheeks. If I’ve got short ribs, they’ll likely become Boeuf Bourguignon. If I’ve got wild boar necks, I’ll simmer a ragu to pair with pappardelle. If I’ve got a couple days, a pack of Magret duck legs—and I’m looking for a project—I’ll make cassoulet, a hearty pork-and-bean casserole from the French region of Languedoc, for which duck confit is essential.


Provi


I’m a huge fan of one-pot or one-pan cooking and those types of dishes are particularly well-suited to winter. Soups, stews, braises, and sheet-pan suppers are all in my cold-weather playbook.


One of my favorite sheet-pan combinations involves skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cauliflower, dried apricots, and green olives, tossed in a spicy blend of curry powder, smoked paprika and cayenne. The warm spices are perfect for warding off the winter chill. Another dish I crave in winter is braised lamb shanks with lentils. I’m especially fond of a recipe from Seattle chef Kasper Donier that calls for amber ale in the braising liquid.


Recently I resurrected a family recipe for rabbit cacciatore. My Tuscany-born grandfather would have cut up whole rabbits, but I just use the meaty hind legs and stew them in a simple tomato sauce with cured black olives. He always served it with polenta, but you could also pair it with spaghetti.


For something lighter and quicker, I turn to a recipe shared by my local fishmonger: a simple Croatian-style fish soup made with potatoes and plenty of garlic and parsley. Halibut cheeks are wonderful in this soup, but you could also use any firm, white fish, like our Spanish swordfish. I’ll put the soup pot in the middle of the table and slice up a loaf of crusty sourdough for dunking. Total cold-weather comfort food.



Ollie


I’m a steak guy. My favorite cut is a New York strip. I really enjoy our grass-fed beef strip steaks from Silver Fern Farms in New Zealand, but I also really like the taste of the grain-fortified Irish Nature beef ribeyes, bavettes & filet mignons we just started to carry. Last but definitely not least, Beeler’s bacon is a meat for all seasons. It’s so thick you can cook it until it’s really crisp, but it stays meaty.