From hot chocolate to birria tacos, here’s what we have on the menu.

By Food & Wine Editors
Updated December 16, 2020
Advertisement

Cold, dark wintry days call for tons of comfort food, and in this roundup, we’ve gathered recipes for all kinds of occasions. Craving something hearty and warm? Make a batch of potato-leek soup, or a whole roasted pumpkin (yes, whole!) with green beans and red curry rice. Need a snack? Dive into caramelized five-onion dip and never look back. Our editors also named lamb burgers, hot chocolate, vegan caramels, and more recipes on their winter list—read on for everything we’ll be making this season.

"Everybody" Potato-Leek Soup

Everybody Soup Recipe
Credit: Victor Protasio

“I fell in love with essayist Emily Nunn’s “Everybody Soup” before I even tasted it. For Nunn, who wrote about cooking for sick friends in a beautiful essay for F&W, this soup is the ultimate expression of love: “It’s adjustable in ways that guarantee everyone will eat it, and love it, in any condition they’re in. But it’s not sick-people food.” I’ve already started making Everybody Soup this winter, following Nunn’s lead and adjusting the recipe to what the moment calls for. If I think someone is in need of a hug, I purée it with a generous pour of heavy cream. If someone needs perking up, I garnish it with fresh cilantro, parsley, and a drizzle of soy sauce. So far, my soup recipients have slurped every version down with great gusto, whatever state they are in. I love that making Everybody Soup feels like a loving, generous gesture—and one that benefits the giver as well as the recipient.” –Karen Shimizu, executive editor

Get the Recipe: "Everybody" Potato-Leek Soup

Spicy Pot Roast with Oranges, Sweet Potatoes, and Calabrian Chile Gremolata

“This is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite recipes from associate food editor Kelsey Youngman. Classic braising technique—searing the beef, sweating the aromatics, then building the flavorful cooking liquid—gets a jolt from fresh oranges and Calabrian chile. Sweet potatoes and celery root bathe along with the meat, soaking up all of the bright, savory flavor. This recipe is a keeper, the kind you set up on a Sunday afternoon to fill your house with the anticipatory aroma of a comforting meal to come.” –Mary-Frances Heck, senior food editor

Get the Recipe: Spicy Pot Roast with Oranges, Sweet Potatoes, and Calabrian Chile Gremolata

Vegan Coconut-Ginger Caramels

Vegan Coconut Ginger Caramels
Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

“I'm excited to nerd out on candy making chemistry by tackling every recipe in December's candy feature, but especially the vegan coconut-ginger caramels. I love that the issue included gift packaging instructions, and I'm planning to ship the treats to friends and family.” –Sarah Crowder, visuals editor

Get the Recipe: Vegan Coconut-Ginger Caramels

Sweet Potato and Feta Bourekas

Sweet Potato and Feta Bourekas
Credit: Greg DuPree

“I am pretty certain that the best way to make anything taste great is to wrap it in puff pastry. I always keep a pack on hand in my freezer for that very reason. So I was incredibly excited when I stumbled upon this Michael Solomonov recipe for sweet potato and feta bourekas. I love bourekas, but don’t often make them because most recipes call for hand making laminated dough with thin, buttery layers which I rarely have the time or patience for. This recipe cleverly relies on frozen puff pastry, which means you can have bourekas on your table sooner rather than later! I love the robust salty filling packed with freshly chopped dill, kalamata olives, a fistful of good feta, and tender sweet potato, too. But I also look forward to riffing on it with whatever I have on hand. Perhaps some cooked down mushrooms and goat cheese? Or sautéed kale with lots of garlic and some caramelized onions? This might just be the best way to use up leftovers.” –Khushbu Shah, restaurant editor

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato and Feta Bourekas

Caffè Di Alpi

Caffè Di Alpi
Credit: © Wendell T. Webber

“Am I going skiing in Colorado this year? No. But then, I don't know how to ski, so I never go skiing in Colorado. That hasn't ever stopped me from making this incredibly delicious apres-ski cocktail from one of my fave restaurants in the world, Boulder's Frasca. It's warming, potent, sweet, and has just enough caffeine to pop you awake after a tiring ski run, or in my case a tiring day of looking out the window at the snow.” –Ray Isle, executive wine editor

Get the Recipe: Caffè Di Alpi

Birria Tacos

Birria Tacos Recipe
Credit: Greg Dupree

“This was the most popular recipe we published this year, and I'm so eager to finally try it! I'm obsessed with birria tacos—they're so soul-warming and perfect for winter.” –Maria Yagoda, digital restaurant editor

Get the Recipe: Birria Tacos

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Homemade Hot Chocolate
Homemade hot chocolate takes a little more effort than ripping open a bag of instant mix, but—oh boy—does it taste great!
| Credit: © Evi Abeler

“This weird holiday season, I’ve been spending a lot of time with friends and family outside—on porches, in parks, on walks. Being able to warm my hands around a steaming mug of hot chocolate makes the socially distanced experience so much more enjoyable. Sometimes I mix in a shot of espresso for a mocha, or a dash of peppermint schnapps to really get into the holiday spirit.” –Nina Friend, associate features editor

Get the Recipe: Homemade Hot Chocolate

Caramelized Five-Onion Dip

Caramelized Five Onion Dip
Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

"Maybe you've always wanted to make a time-lapse video with loads of dramatically caramelizing onions. Maybe you just really want a dip that doubles as a marvelous sandwich spread. I don't need to know your motives, but what I do need is to make this dip over and over again this winter––I've also made this with vegan cream cheese and sour cream for my lactose intolerant fiancé, and am pleased to report stellar results." –Oset Babür, associate restaurant editor

Get the Recipe: Caramelized Five-Onion Dip

Lamb Burgers with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce

Lamb Burgers with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce

“Lamb burgers are more of a summer recipe, but with so little going on in New York during our Covid winter, I'll get nutty with it and keep grilling outside straight through til spring. Even if we can't have movie theaters or New Year's Eve parties, we can at least grill when it's 20 degrees out. This recipe is all about getting the grill super hot so the patties are nicely charred. It says to leave out the jalapeño seeds, but I say go rogue and keep a few in there for a little zip.” –Ryan Grim, executive digital editor

Get the Recipe: Lamb Burgers with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce

Sweet-and-Smoky Grilled Cheese Toastie

Sweet and Smoky Grilled Cheese Toast
Credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

“I crave melted cheese year-round, but in the winter, it basically runs through my veins. Macaroni and cheese with a crackly, shattering crust; molten baked bries; ultra-creamy fondue that yields impressive cheese pulls every. single. time. It’s all on my list for this year, and so is this sweet-and-smoky grilled cheese toastie. As soon as I saw it in our October issue, I knew I had to give it a try—Comté, chipotle chiles in adobo, and soppressata all in one sandwich? Come on! I’m already dreaming of that first rich, melty bite.” –Bridget Hallinan, digital reporter

Get the Recipe: Sweet-and-Smoky Grilled Cheese Toastie

Nqaj Qaab Zib (Sweet Pork)

Nqaj Qaab Zib (Sweet Pork)
Credit: Celeste Noche

In the depths of winter, I don’t just crave comforting food—I pine for dishes that fill the house with their fragrance as they simmer, reminding me that a nourishing dinner is just around the corner. This Hmong recipe is blessedly simple: After searing and seasoning the pork belly, you simmer it with water, lemongrass, and galangal until fork tender, then enjoy with rice and soy-marinated hard-boiled quail eggs (though I’ll probably sub in chicken eggs instead). I’ll probably balance all that pork belly out with a tall pile of steamed greens, glossed with chicken broth and butter and a splash of oyster sauce, and feel winter get just a little bit friendlier.” –Adina Steiman, deputy digital editor

Get the Recipe: Nqaj Qaab Zib (Sweet Pork)

Whole Roasted Pumpkin with Green Beans and Red Curry Rice

Whole Roasted Pumpkin with Green Beans and Red Curry Rice
Credit: Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer

“For the better part of a decade, I've been trying to grow Long Island cheese pumpkins to absolutely no avail. But then one blessed day this summer, a breeze dislodged a leaf that had been concealing the presence of a fist-sized orb, eerily pale and utterly thrilling. I spent the next few months tracking her progress by the day and feeling weirdly maternal. And now it's time to eat her. Senior food editor Mary-Frances Heck is as much of a cucurbit devotee as I am, so when she shares a recipe that highlights not just any old pumpkin, but this variety in particular, I am making that dish down to the letter. With the help of a little coconut milk, jasmine rice cooks to a creamy risotto-like consistency inside the pumpkin itself, making a stunning centerpiece, and a lavish vegetarian main or side. Swap in tamari, soy, coconut aminos or your favorite umami-packed condiment for the fish sauce and it's a vegan-friendly dream.” –Kat Kinsman, senior editor

Get the Recipe: Whole Roasted Pumpkin with Green Beans and Red Curry Rice

Winter Chicory Salad with Kumquats and Date Dressing

Winter Chicory Salad with Kumquats and Date Dressing
Credit: Greg DuPree

“Between the indulgent cheese plates and rich desserts that always come with the holidays, sometimes all I want is a really good salad. Traci Des Jardins’ wintery chicory and kumquat recipe is perfect for those moments, when I'm craving something fresh, crunchy, and green.” –N.F.

Get the Recipe: Winter Chicory Salad with Kumquats and Date Dressing