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Get a jump on holiday baking: Cozy November recipes

Stew, soup and some holiday baking. Get comfy!

Chilly fall days call for cozy sweaters, hearty stews and steaming cups of soup. Chock-full of tender bites of chicken and hearty root vegetables, our Fireside Chicken Stew is a comforting autumn meal.

FIRESIDE CHICKEN STEW

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

12 skinless chicken thighs

2 cups chopped onions

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup dry white wine

1 Tbsp marjoram, crumbled

1/2 tsp rosemary, crumbled

2 cans (10 oz/284 mL each) chicken broth

2 cups peeled red potato cubes (1 inch)

2 cups rutabaga cubes (1 inch)

2 cups carrot sticks (2 inch)

2 cups parsnip sticks (2 inch)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup whipping cream

2 tbsp cornstarch

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Add chicken to pan in batches and brown on both sides. Transfer chicken to a plate; keep warm.

2. Add remaining oil to pan. Stir in onions and garlic; sauté for 4 minutes. Stir in wine, marjoram and rosemary; bring to a boil. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup. Stir in broth, potatoes, rutabaga, carrot, parsnip, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Return chicken to pan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until chicken and vegetables are tender. May be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Reheat stew before proceeding.

3. Whisk together cream and cornstarch until blended; stir into stew. Simmer, stirring frequently, until stew is thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 6.

Get a start on your holiday baking with spiced, chewy honey ginger cookies. They don't have the intense flavour of molasses seen in traditional gingerbread.

Cream cheese helps to produce a soft, easily workable dough in cream cheese sugar cookies. This is a great recipe for cutting shapes and decorating—a fun holiday activity for the kids!

HONEYED GINGER COOKIES

2 cups (500 mL) flour

2 tsp (10 mL) baking soda

1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

1 tsp (5 mL) ginger

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) cloves

1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened

1/2 cup (125 mL) honey

1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar

1 egg

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

Combine first 7 ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a bowl; set aside. Using medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together butter, honey and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until blended. Stir in flour mixture just until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Shape 1 tbsp (15 mL) measures of dough into balls. Place balls 2 inches (5 cm) apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for 12 - 14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around edges and are just set in centre. Do not overbake. Remove from cookie sheets and cool cookies on racks. Store, layered with wax paper, in an airtight container for up to 1 week. May be frozen. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

 

CREAM CHEESE SUGAR COOKIES

 

1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened

4 oz (125 g) cream cheese, softened

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

1/4 tsp (1 mL) almond extract

2 cups (500 mL) flour

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Using medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract until blended. Using low speed, beat in flour and salt just until combined. Gather dough into a ball; divide in half. Flatten each half into a disc shape. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours. Remove one disc of dough from refrigerator. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough 3/8 inch (1 cm) thick. Using decorative cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes. Place 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat procedure with remaining disc of dough. Bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for 8 - 10 minutes or until cookies are firm and starting to colour around edges. Do not overbake. Remove from cookie sheets and cool cookies on racks. Decorate if desired. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 week. May be frozen for up to 2 months.

Makes 3 1/2 - 4 dozen.

 

 

Roasted Tomato Soup is a labour of love, featuring slow-roasted tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic flavoured with an aromatic mixture of fennel, smoked paprika, cayenne, honey, bay leaves, and thyme. 

ROASTED TOMATO VEGETABLE SOUP

15 Roma tomatoes, halved

3 cups chopped carrots

3 cups chopped yellow onion

2 cups chopped celery

2 Tbsp canola oil

2 Tbsp liquid honey

1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic

4 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tsp fennel seed

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

4 cups no-salt-added chicken broth

1 can (10 oz/284 mL) tomato juice

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cups whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Combine tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, oil, honey, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, fennel seed, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Toss to coat.

3. Spread vegetables evenly on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and slightly browned, about 1 hour. Toss vegetables halfway through cooking.

4. Transfer vegetables to a large pot. Add broth, tomato juice and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves and thyme. Stir in cream.

5. Purée using a hand blender. Serve immediately.

Yield: Makes about 14 cups.