It doesn’t really matter how high we keep the heat inside during the winter, something about the frosty windows, freezing temperatures and fluffy white snow makes us all crave warm soups and meals. With microwaves, ovens and stovetops, it’s not a problem to create those meals quickly and easily.
So many of us romanticize the season with thoughts of warm fires, hot coco and a wood stove with bubbling soup calling to us. And, your glass top stove doesn’t have that same charm! But, your wood stove does. Check out some of our recipes for winter and see what you can put together to make winter just a little warmer!
First, it’s important to answer this question:
Can I cook on my wood stove?
Yes! The more likely question here is: is it safe? And the answer to that is also yes. A wood or pellet stove can be used for heating like any other heating appliance, but cooking as well and functions the same way. So, you can make your favorite recipes for winter just the same way you do on your other cooking appliances! You just have to familiarize yourself with it first.
Before you begin cooking:
Learn the heating zones of your stove. Using a magnetic thermometer, see which parts of your stove heat up to what temperatures. Do this a few times to make sure it stays consistent and if you have to, create a diagram.
Double check ventilation. Make sure your stove doesn’t produce gases or chemicals that can be toxic; this is important anytime you are using your stove, not just for cooking.
Make sure it’s clean. And, clean it with products designed to be used on your wood stove. This prevents any buildup of harmful chemicals.
While you’re cooking:
Use thermometers. You should always ensure even temperatures and that any meats reach safe temperatures for eating before you finish cooking.
Keep an eye on what you’re cooking. Just like on a stovetop, it’s important to make sure that your food doesn’t stick or overflow from the pot or pan you’re using to cook with.
Ready? Let’s go!
Recipes for Winter
Pretty much every culture with frigid winter months and a way to preserve vegetables has a version of this winter soup recipe. We won’t cover them all (though we’d be happy to try them all) but, we’d love to talk about this versatile meal!
First, pick your vegetables.
Because it is so unique and widely varied, there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to vegetables. Popular vegetable choices for this winter soup recipe include:
- Green beans
For those trying to keep the winter weight off, try replacing potatoes with cauliflower and adding in green peppers in place of some higher carb items, like corn or carrots. Adding diced tomatoes adds a nice touch to many recipes for winter as well.
Most recipes call for a pound of the meat of your choice. For most, this is stewed beef, though you can use ground beef, lamb, or for vegetarians, simply add more vegetables!
Broths are important as well, and this is purely up to you. Some prefer stock while others like bullion cubes and water. This too is to taste. The amount of broth can vary between 24 ounces all the way up to 56.
The amount of broth just depends on how much juice is produced by the meat as well as if you are using certain vegetables, such as canned tomatoes. When using canned tomatoes, it’s not a bad idea to simply use that juice in your soup.
Sauté onions and peppers to your liking—some like to slightly brown their vegetables while others prefer to pretty much caramelize their onions.
Brown your meat in a larger pot (some like to add in seasoned flour for flavor and then add in your sautéed vegetables. Add in your broth as well and once it is boiling, it’s time to add your vegetables!
You’ll also want to season it to taste. Some like to simply use salt and pepper while others prefer garlic. For more a more unique flavor, add in spices like spicy Capsicum, ginger or soy sauce.
Bring your soup to a boil and occasionally test it to see how done your vegetables are. Once you are satisfied, take it off to cool and then enjoy!
It’s a southern tradition where I’m from to have cornbread as well. Many southerners like to put it in the bottom of the bowl and then put the soup on top for some added heartiness. Vegetable stew and cornbread are staple wood stove recipes for many people in the South!
What’s your favorite wood stove recipe?
Chicken and Dumplings
This is my personal recipe that I cook at least once a month every winter—usually once a week because it’s cold outside! I hope you enjoy it and can add it to your wood stove recipe collection! I wish I could provide measurements, but unfortunately I can’t. I never measure anything unless it just comes that way, like the bone broth and vegetable stock.
For this recipe you’ll need:
- Two boxes of your favorite buttermilk biscuit mix
- Bone broth (32 oz carton)
- Vegetable stock (32 oz carton)
- Chicken thighs
- Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
Before you start cooking, remove the skin and bones from your chicken. Lay out a few layers of cheesecloth and place the chicken skin and bones in the center. Tie it into a loose ball and set it aside—you’ll need it later.
Cut your chicken into cubes. This not only makes eating it easier, but it also makes cooking time faster. You can put your chicken, along with the cheesecloth ball, together.
Next, follow the directions on the biscuit mix packaging, but add in parsley. Parsley is optional, but it adds a pretty garnish to your dumplings. I like doing it, but it’s really up to you. You can also let your mix sit at this point, or go ahead and make your dumplings. I typically make mine when they are ready to go in, and they are quite large. If you prefer smaller ones I suggest making dumpling balls that seem ridiculously small. They’ll get bigger, trust me.
Empty both the bone broth and vegetable broth cartons into a large pot along with 16 oz of water, then bring it to a boil. Add in your chicken and cheese cloth pouch to the broth mixture. Once you are sure that the chicken is mostly done, remove the cheesecloth bag and place it in a bowl. Don’t throw it away yet. Add in any spices you want to use. I start with simple salt and pepper and then go from there. Garlic typically ends up in my dumplings, along with Italian seasoning.
It’s time to add the dumplings!
Add in your dumplings. Take care not to splash yourself! Check to see if your cheesecloth pouch is cool enough to handle. If it is, carefully squeeze the water left in it out into your bowl. Once you’ve gotten as much out as you can, mix the excess water into your pot.
Occasionally stir your dumplings and if you’re like me, you’ll have to cut one open to see if it’s done. Once it is, you’re ready to eat! This is an excellent recipe for winter because it’s hearty, warm and the leftovers are great as well.
What do you think of these choices and my chicken and dumpling recipe? Comment below and share your favorite recipes for winter! We’re on social media too and we’d love to see your favorite winter recipes posted to our Facebook page!