BEAT THE CHILL WITH THESE 10 IRRESISTIBLE INTERNATIONAL MEALS.
Story by Amy Barnes
January brings the most severe winter weather to the Lowcountry. We’re talking 50-degree days and 40-degree nights. Egad! As temperatures drop, many locals find comfort in hearty soups and homemade stews. But why settle for a warmed-up can of chicken noodle when you can wow your tribe with something more sophisticated and special? Many cultures around the world have developed wintery comfort foods to help combat the cold. Recreate one of these 10 irresistible international meals to warm up even the coldest of January nights.
When temperatures plummet in China, many people vie for the traditional hotpot dish. Traditionally shared among friends and family, the hearty dish is composed of a massive pot of boiling broth in conjunction with an assortment of meats and vegetables for epicureans to add to their own stock. Popular ingredients include leafy vegetables, sliced potatoes, chopped meat, seafood, tofu, beans, mushrooms, vermicelli, egg dumplings — every ingredient needed to warm up you and your immune system. For an added kick, most hotpots include spices such as peppercorns and chili peppers. When perusing the web for recipes, keep in mind that these recipes vary by region.
French Beef Bourguignon Stew
Beef Bourguignon Stew is a winter staple for the busy Frenchman. Upon ingredient preparation, this dish magically comes together after the ingredients simmer in a slow cooker all day, leaving you to tend to more important matters. Ingredients include beef, pearl onions, carrots, garlic, bacon, mushrooms and bouquet garni. And there’s nothing more French than that rich red wine sauce.
Show your immune system some love with a nutrient-filled Ukranian Borscht. This sweet and tangy soup contains not only bone stock and beets but is also packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and a surplus of antioxidants. Other common ingredients include cabbage, garlic, beans, potatoes, bell peppers, parsley root, tomatoes, zucchini and dill. But don’t worry, it’s not all about health — Ukrainian Borscht is sometimes topped with a generous dollop of sour cream.
German Potato Soup
Everyone knows that potatoes are historically the “go-to” for a cheap, filling carbohydrate. Germany tends to be an economical and efficient country, so it’s no surprise that their soup of choice is potato soup. This filling and nutritious soup contains potatoes, sausages, bacon, vegetable broth, leeks, carrots, celery, onions, mustard, marjoram, pepper, nutmeg and sauerkraut. Since it can be made in a slow cooker, this soup is perfect for those busy winter days.
For a well-balanced and comforting winter meal, try Japanese Oden. This seafood hotpot is packed with hard-boiled eggs, fish balls, fish cakes, daikon radish, konjac, deep-fried tofu, fish paste, seaweed, potatoes and soy sauce, creating a high flavor profile with high health benefits. It is high in protein and slow-release carbohydrates, but low in fat, and contains vitamin C, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. It’s almost “fishy” how delicious yet healthy this hotpot can be.
British Pea and Ham Soup
Since the weather in Britain can often be cold and dreary, the Brits have nailed their classic pea and ham soup. With split green peas and ham hock being the main ingredients, this soup is rich in protein, iron, zinc, phosphorus and fiber. Other ingredients include sweet onions, celery, carrots, butter, garlic, vegetable oil, black pepper and bay leaves. This hearty soup is the perfect addition to your cold-weather lineup.
Coming from a country full of mineral spas and lavish architecture, it’s no surprise that Hungarians’ eating habits are just as luxurious. The traditional Hungarian Goulash is a rich, healthy stew containing noodles, paprika, beef, meat stock, rosemary, bay leaves, marjoram, lemon zest, potatoes, red peppers, tomatoes and other nutritious vegetables. The bell peppers and tomatoes provide an incredible source of vitamin C, the beef is rich in zinc and iron, and the entire dish is full of warm, comforting flavor — perfect for those cold winter days.
We all love a good beef stew, but if you’re wanting a healthier and unique option, try an Argentinian Carbonada. This beef stew contains beef, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, garlic, onions, red wine, yellow peppers, vegetable stock, oregano, basil, rosemary, olive oil and various dried fruits, such as apricots, and can easily be made in a slow cooker for added convenience. If you’re craving a bit of red meat with all the health benefits, this vibrantly colored and nutritious dish is for you.
Hashbrowns are no longer just for breakfast. Swedish Pyttipana, translated as “little bits and pieces in a pan,” is a hash with a base of potatoes, diced meat and onion. This wasteless dish can readily incorporate refrigerated leftovers such as rutabaga, parsnips, leeks, carrots, broccoli, peas and peppers. Not only is Pyttipanna nutritionally well-balanced, it is also filling — perfect for those low temperatures that require a few extra calories.
Chilean Chicken Cazuela
Chicken soup doesn’t have to be for only when you’re feeling under the weather. Chilean Chicken Cazuela is packed with delicious flavor from chicken pieces on the bone, corn on the cob, potatoes, butternut squash, onion, chicken broth, carrots, celery, bell peppers, green peas, olive oil, cilantro, cumin and oregano. It’s a great source of vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system strong. It also contains chondroitin, gelatin, and other immune boosting nutrients, so don’t wait around to get sick to enjoy a comforting chicken soup.