“I’m gonna cook more this year.”
It’s the gift that keeps on giving, the resolution that begets other resolutions. Win friends, influence dates, save money, subtract calories — all products of being a better hand in the kitchen.
So here are five new cookbooks to help you get through winter (and beyond), along with a no-fail recipe to get you started tonight.
101 Easy Asian Recipes | by Peter Meehan and the Editors of Lucky Peach
Rotisserie chicken ramen, beef satay and scallion salad are among the dead simple dishes you’ll find in food journal Lucky Peach’s new cookbook. Michelin-star cooking skills not required. A must-have for all creative, time-hungry home chefs.
V Is For Vegetables | by Michael Anthony
This gorgeous cooking tome is brought to you by the letter “V.” Following the success of 2013’s Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, lauded chef Michael Anthony of, you guessed it, New York’s Gramercy Tavern, presents a new offering that’s all about the veg: from how to pick ‘em to how to cook ‘em. You need to eat more vegetables this year, anyway.
Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best Home Indian Cooking | by Madhur Jaffrey
Another way to make veggies delicious? Cook Indian. Seven-time James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey is known as the “the godmother of Indian cooking,” and it shows in her newest cookbook, filled with insight and recipes from Jaffrey and her friends. Be sure to make the Bengali mustard sauce … it seriously goes well with everything.
Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science | by J Kenji Lopez-Alt
A cookbook version of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s popular and highly informative Food Lab series for Serious Eats. This is the book you need if you want to know the best way to boil an egg. Think Cook’s Illustrated, but hipper. Meaning: these recipes are deduced to their essence by trial, error and all kinds of testing. And at nearly 1,000 pages, it’s a cooking bible you’ll refer back to time and time again.
Chili Cookbook | by Robb Walsh
Chilli. It’s what you want in the winter. It’s also what Robb Walsh wants all year-round. The Texas cookbook author, whose other titles include Texas Eats and the Tex-Mex Cookbook, returns with a book dedicated to the art of the American hot pot. From Texas-style to Cincinnati-style, Walsh has ya covered.
Recipe Spotlight: Pork and Whiskey Chili, by Robb Walsh
The combination of bell pepper, brown sugar, and bourbon make this much sweeter than usual—but since pork is traditionally paired with sweet flavors, this chili tastes just right. There’s plenty of salt in the bacon and sausage, so taste the chili before adding any more. — Robb Walsh
SERVES 6 TO 8
1 tablespoon butter
3 strips Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Bacon or best thick-cut artisanal bacon, chopped
1 pound mild pork sausage, removed from its casings
1 pound boneless center-cut pork loin chops, trimmed of fat and gristle and cut into 1⁄2-inch dice
2 white onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cups water
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup bourbon, or to taste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder, homemade (see separate recipe) or store-bought
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
In a large skillet or pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and pork sausage, breaking up the sausage. Cook until sausage is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Pour off the drippings into a separate bowl and reserve, leaving 2 tablespoons in the pan.
Cook the pork until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions, garlic and bell pepper in the drippings, adding more of the reserved drippings if needed. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and add the water, tomatoes, bourbon, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano and pepper. Stir well to mix and increase the heat to high. When the chili begins to boil, cover and decrease the heat to a simmer. Cook the chili for 1 hour or more, adding water if needed to prevent the sauce from burning.
Alternatively, transfer to a slow-cooker, set on low and cook for at least 6 and up to 8 hours, then serve.
Homemade Chili Powder
Toasting chiles and cumin seeds in your own kitchen and grinding them in a spice grinder makes the best chili powder of all. This recipe calls for anchos, but you can use any combination of dried chiles.
MAKES 1/4 CUP
5 whole dried ancho chiles (about 2 ounces)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Remove the stems and seeds from the anchos and spread the peppers out flat. Reserve the seeds. Place the chiles flat on a comal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Being careful not to burn them, lightly toast until they are brittle, then remove and cool. Toast the cumin in the hot comal, stirring and shaking until fragrant. Toast some of the chile seeds, if desired. (The seeds will make the chili powder hotter.)
Cut the chiles into small strips with scissors. In a clean coffee grinder, grind the strips in several batches until powdered. Grind the cumin and chile seeds in the coffee grinder. Combine the powdered chile, ground seeds, Mexican oregano and garlic powder in a mixing bowl. Grind the coarse powder in batches in the coffee grinder until fine, about 2 minutes. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.