5 Winter Comfort Food Recipes

Fight off the winter blues with these feel-good favorites.

Recipe by chef Darren Harbison, May’s Cafe at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

1. Trinity Gumbo

2 cups bacon grease or vegetable oil
6 cups flour, divided
1 1/2 gallons seafood stock or water
2 pounds okra, divided
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 pounds onions, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
1 tablespoon liquid crab boil
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 bunches fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 bunches green onion, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound lump crabmeat
3 pounds shrimp, peeled
1 pound crawfish tail meat

1. Heat bacon grease or oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add flour, reserving 1 cup, and stir until you reach a color between dark and milk chocolate. Slowly stir in final cup of flour once browned. Remove roux from heat. Seal and store any leftover mixture in refrigerator until needed.
2. Put stock or water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add 1 1/2 pounds of okra and return to boil. Boil for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine peppers, onions and celery. Remove 1/3 of mixture and reserve with remaining 1/2 pound okra.
4. Once okra is boiled, add prepared vegetables to the pot. Return to boil. Add crab boil, Old Bay, parsley, garlic, green onion, bay leaves, salt and pepper and boil for 15 minutes.
5. Add crabmeat and boil 10 more minutes. Add reserved vegetables to pot and return to boil.
6. Stir in as much roux as you like to reach the consistency you prefer, ensuring that it dissolves into the liquid. Add shrimp and crawfish, then salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve warm over rice with potato salad on the side. Serves 20.

2. Green Chili Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Recipe by Arwen Rice, Red or White Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

5 pieces bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 bay leaves
1 pound black beans, soaked overnight
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 – 4 teaspoons salt
3 (4-ounce) cans diced green chilis
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced small
sour cream and corn chips, for garnish 

1. Heat a large soup pot and add the diced bacon.
2. Once the bacon has browned a bit, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 – 7 minutes then add the chili powder, cumin and bay leaves. Sauté for another 2 minutes, then add the black beans and remaining ingredients except for the sweet potatoes and sour cream.
3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours over medium-low heat. Stir frequently.
4. Test a bean after an hour and if it is soft, add the sweet potatoes. Simmer another 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.  
5. Remove 3 cups of the soup out of the pot and mash with a potato masher then add back to the soup and stir. Portion into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream and chips. Serves approximately 8 – 10.

- Sponsors -

3. Gumbalaya

Recipe by Katie Moore Photo by Major Adam Colbert

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound bacon (and/or sausage), cut into small pieces
1 large bell pepper
1 large onion, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
1 small head of garlic (cloves peeled and minced)
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s or other Cajun seasoning, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3/4 – 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 bay leaves, optional
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups of rice 

1. Combine butter and bacon (and/or sausage) in a big soup pot. Cook on high until the meat is mostly cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.
2. Add the pepper, onion, celery and garlic. Add the Tony’s, salt and pepper. Saute until veggies are tender and slightly caramelized, about 8 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, shrimp and bay leaves, and cook for a few more minutes while stirring. Then add the broth and water. Bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, cook rice according to directions. Ladle mixture over rice. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Serves 6 – 8.

Recipe by Jo Ann Edwards Photo by Todd Douglas

4. Chicken Potpie

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks with leaves, cut into quarters
3 teaspoons kosher salt
5 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh parsley

1. Place the chicken in a large pot with yellow onion, celery, salt, thyme, garlic, peppercorns and parsley. Cover with water, then bring to a boil.
2. Lower heat and simmer 2 – 4 hours or until chicken is tender. Let chicken cool in the stock. Drain in a colander, saving the broth. Discard the skin, bones and vegetables. Set broth aside.
Cube 3 cups of chicken. Makes 3 cups chicken, 3 cups broth.

1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
1 1/2 cups white onion, chopped
3/4 cup chopped fennel (1 bulb)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups warm chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 cups cubed chicken
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put the carrots in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Put the potatoes in a saucepan, with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender. Drain and set aside.
3. Saute white onion and fennel in 1 stick of butter. Stir in all-purpose flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the 3 cups of warm broth, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper and simmer approximately 5 minutes. Stir in heavy cream.
4. Combine carrots, potatoes, lima beans, parsley and 3 cups chicken with the sauce. Pour into a 9 1/2-inch round greased baking dish. (It should be about 3/4 full.) Set aside.
5. To make the crust, whisk together the self-rising flour and baking powder.
6. In a separate pan, melt the remaining butter and add the milk.
7. Whisk together the dry mixture with the milk mixture, then pour over chicken. Do not stir.
8. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until crust rises and is just lightly browned. Serves 8 – 10.

5. Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup with Breakfast Sausage

Recipe by Patrick Fosgate Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau

1 butternut squash
olive oil
kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage
1/2 lemon, juiced and seeded
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut squash in half and scoop out the guts and seeds of each half. Lightly rub each side with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Lay the squash flesh side up on a baking sheet.
3. Place whole sweet potatoes on a separate cooking sheet and place both pans in the oven for about 40 minutes to an hour or until vegetables are soft. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the flesh from the squash and potatoes and set aside.
4. Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Add onion and cook until translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
5. Remove the pot from the heat and add the flesh of the squash and potatoes. Add the stock, thyme and pumpkin spice. Return to heat and slowly simmer for 15 minutes.
6. While the soup is simmering, brown the sausage in a skillet and set aside.
7. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the cooked sausage and lemon juice, and season to taste with kosher salt and white pepper. If desired, finish the soup with cream to add richness. Serves 8 – 10.

Get the best of Mobile delivered to your inbox

Be the first to know about local events, home tours, restaurant reviews and more!