Cold weather and comfort food are a perfect match. But this winter is unique in that many of us haven’t ventured far beyond our own kitchens or local restaurants in months. Stuck in a recipe rut of usual standbys, I recently challenged myself to explore the spices and flavors of a few new cuisines — even while staying close to home. I was floored by how excited my family was to try new-to-them international dishes, and how easy the recipes were to execute, once I pushed past the intimidation factor.
And while making moussaka at home will never eclipse a true trip to Greece, sending my taste buds traveling still felt like an adventure. Here are the top five recipes that came out of my culinary travels, which my family has requested again and again.
Chicken for dinner might sound dull, but this Moroccan dish is positively packed with warm spices — turmeric, paprika, ginger, and cumin. The chicken thighs slowly simmer in the spices, along with lemon and olives, for a result that’s as tender and juicy as it is flavorful.
Baked until golden and flaky, these handheld pies feature a savory sweet potato and black bean filling seasoned with cumin, cilantro and lime. And if homemade empanadas sounds hard, fear not: Refrigerated pie crust dough also helps to keep prep and assembly simple and hassle-free.
Looking for an almost effortless way to bring global flavors to your dinner table? This recipe is the answer! Canned broth, coconut milk, and a rotisserie chicken help this creamy, dairy-free soup come together in less than 30 minutes.
This cheesy casserole is made by layering roasted eggplant slices with a “meaty” lentil-tomato sauce, a lightened creamy sauce, and feta cheese. Inspired by the classic Greek dish, this vegetarian version is hearty comfort food that won’t leave you feeling overstuffed.
Inspired by Korean beef bulgogi, these tacos spotlight thinly sliced, beef marinated in a slightly sweet, umami-rich sauce. A quick and tangy slaw made with kimchi (fermented cabbage) delivers a one-two punch of flavor.
CAROLYN WILLIAMS, PHD, RD