How to hack winter warmer recipes from roast to soup and stew

How to hack winter warmer recipes from roast to soup and stew

The weather is getting colder and we are all looking for dishes that give us the equivalent of a warm hug. But we still have the same number of hours a day, so what do you do if you want the great flavors without the sheer amount of time in the kitchen?

Easy – you learn a few small hacks to make these winter warmer dishes even more effective without sacrificing flavor.

The trick is to take all the hard work out you can and believe me, there are plenty of helpers on the supermarket shelves to make rich and hearty dinners in cold weather so much easier.

Perfect ladder

To find the perfect roast, you only need two things:

Get the chef right. To get crispy skin on any roast, put it into the oven at a very high temperature for a short while, then lower the temperature back for the rest of the roast. This will make the greasy and crispy skin by driving moisture away (the enemy of crackling), but then lets you finish cooking without compromising on the crunch.

VIDEO RECIPE: Perfectly crackling pork

A large roast always needs a sauce or gravy. Make a good sauce for the crispy roast.

You can of course make a sauce with your pan juices …

VIDEO RECIPE: How to make sauce from pan juice

Or there is no shame in using a supermarket-bought helper, like a sleeping powder or a bag of ready-made sauce. They save time and you can add pan juice in if you want.

  • Sauce in powder form
  • Ready-made sauce bags
  • Completion of sauces
  • Duck fat for potatoes
Jane de Graaffs easy pork roast tricks
Jane de Graaffs easy pork roast tricks (included)

Get a cheat sheet for frying types and times.

Easier stews / slow cooks / bakes

The simple trick with any stew, slow cook or baked dish is to make sure you put the basics in the beginning.

Always fry your onions and brown all the meat. You can not get deep taste from meat that is just stewed and not browned because you miss the caramelization of the naturally occurring sugars. It sounds technical, but all you need to know is brown, brown, brown the meat and caramelize the onions.

The best way to do this is to get a pan that can go from the hob to the oven to save the dishes. But no drama, if you do not have one – just brown it off and then put it in your frying pan.

Then feel free to go into town on all the simmering, slow cook, bake and stew sauces in the supermarket. There is everything from curry to stroganoff.

Add a topping like the $ 1.75 Maggi Beef Stroganoff blend from Woolies used in the video (see above) to make it really epic, like cheese, dumplings or even pastry.

Because toppings. is. everything.

  • Get a pan that works on the hob and in the oven, and go from one to the other
  • A topping always helps to really finish things (dumplings, cheese, pastry)
  • Use fresh vegetables instead of frozen for a better texture, but no drama by any means
  • Make it the day before and reheat – the flavors will really pull
Jane de Graaff oxball stroganoff bag
Jane de Graaff beef stroganoff with dumplings stewed cake (included)

Ingredients for beef stroganoff dumplings stew

  • 1 kg chuck beef, in 2 cm cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • olive oil
  • 4 pieces of diced bacon
  • 250 g sliced ​​mushrooms
  • 1 x pack stroganoff pack mix
  • 2 cups water (use stock if you do not use package mix)
  • ½ cup of red wine
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream


  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 50 g diced butter
  • ½ cup parmesan, shredded
  • ½-¾ cup of milk, just enough to gather the dough
  • freshly chopped chives, optional


  1. If possible, use a pan that can go from hob to oven. Brown the meat in portions and take it off the pan. Then fry the onion and bacon in the same pan. Toss mushrooms in and cook until the mushrooms are just soft, then stir through the packet of stroganoff mixture. Stir water / foundation and red wine through. Boil up. Let it simmer for 1-1½ hours and check the meat to see if it is tender. Stir through 2 tablespoons sour cream to combine. Stir the cornmeal through and let it simmer so that it thickens a little. Make sure the pan is in an ovenproof dish – if it is not, move it into a now.
  2. To make dumplings, rub butter and flour together until you have fine crumbs. Stir the cheese through, then the chives at this point, if you use it, then add just enough milk to bring the dough together (do not overdo it). Roll into balls and top the pan stroganoff with the balls. I often make two rounds of dumplings when my dish is wide. Sprinkle with extra parmesan.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes until dumplings are puffed and golden and stroganoff is sizzling.

Super supper

Do not be fooled into thinking that the only way to make soup is to throw everything in the pot and hope for the best. Of course you can do it that way if you want, but there are some little tricks that will take your soup next level for the winter.

  • Do not skimp on the early stages of cooking; boil onions and possibly meat down to get it caramelized and browned
  • Fry vegetables if you have time. It is not important but it will add depth to your tastes and you can also keep some for garnish
  • Use a good fondue (purchased or homemade), or go big and use a packet or can of soup to help with an extra flavor
  • Fresh vegetables always have a better texture, but use what you have
  • Add noodles / rice at the end. Do not boil them in the soup unless you want it all to melt together
  • Toppings take the next level – balsamicobacon / croutons and crumbs / gremolata – find the topping you like and fall in love with it

Supermarket helpers – Use one of the cans / packs / packs on the market as a good base when you do not have stock, but always add more vegetables and pieces to them to make them go further. It’s a great way to enhance the taste.

Jane de Graaff's leek and potato soup
Jane de Graaffs leek and potato soup (included)

More soup tips and recipes here

Roasting cheat sheet

Now this is just a guide. It will depend on the size of your roast, the cut (i.e. boneless or boned) and how you like the final result (from rare to overcooked). But here’s a handy little helper to get you started.

Roast pork with the crackle

  • 220 ° C for 20-30 minutes for cracking (watch it)
  • Then 180 ° C for 30 minutes per. kg

Fried chicken

  • 220 ° C for 5-10 minutes for brittle skin
  • Then 180 ° C for 25 minutes on each side, or until the juice is ready

Roast beef

  • 220 ° C for 20 minutes
  • Then 180 ° C for 20 minutes per. 500 g (for rare meat)

Fried lamb

  • 220 ° C for 20-25 minutes
  • Then 180 ° C for 30 minutes per. 500g

Note: Boneless roasts generally take less time to cook, as the bone conducts heat into the center of the meat.

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