Comforting Cold Weather Dinner Ideas Start with Roast
As the air turns colder and the sun sets earlier, warm comfort foods are what’s for dinner. When it comes to cold weather dinner ideas, there is nothing more classic — and surprisingly simple — than a roast. With lots of different ways to cook a roast, there are plenty of hearty winter recipes you can try for delicious comfort food meals throughout the season.
Choosing the Best Roast for Your Meal
A delicious meal starts with choosing the best roast for your cooking method. When you’re cooking a roast, most recipes will call for either a dry heat roast or a moist heat roast. The dry roasting method includes searing your meat and cooking with seasoning. The moist roasting method adds water, broth, or soup to the roast, in addition to seasoning.
Best Roasts for Dry Roasting:
- Rib Roast (Texas-Style Rib Chop)
- Sirloin Tip Center Cut Roast
- Tenderloin Roast
- Eye Round Roast
Best Roasts for Wet Roasting:
- Chuck Roast
- Bottom Round Roast
- Sirloin Tip Center Cut Roast
Ways to Cook a Hearty Winter Roast
Although a roast can be an impressive main dish, it won’t take you hours in the kitchen to create a crowd-pleasing meal. Oven roasts, pot roasts, and stews are three ways to cook a hearty winter roast that take little prep time and minimal efforts.
1. Oven Roast
This is a dry roast method of cooking and most recipes follow these general steps:
- Season your roast and place it in a shallow baking pan. Adding a rack to your pan allows for more even cooking.
- Oven-sear your roast by cooking in a 450º F oven for 10 mins.
- Reduce your oven to 275º F and cook your roast uncovered for 30-45 mins (to your desired doneness).
- Cover with foil and let stand for 15 mins before carving.
Try our recipe for Lemon-Garlic Roast with Herbed Oregano-Horseradish Sauce.
2. Pot Roast
Pot roast is a classic winter comfort food. This moist roast cooking method uses the “low and slow” philosophy which results in a tender, flavorful roast. Simple steps for a pot roast include:
- Season your roast and place it in a Dutch oven or stockpot. Brown the roast over medium-high heat. Searing adds flavor and color to your sauce.
- Add 1-2 cups of liquid (broth, red wine, or canned tomato soup).
- Simmer on your stove top or in a 325º F oven for 3 hours or in a slow cooker, on low setting, for 8-10 hours.
- Add vegetables and/or potatoes for the final 45 minutes.
Try our recipe for Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy.
3. Beef Stew
Stews are another moist roast cooking method and are some of the most popular classic winter crockpot meals. Stews typically start with less-tender, but flavorful, cuts of meat which tenderize through slow, moist heat. Here’s how to make a simple beef stew:
- Coat cubes of meat in flour, salt, and pepper and brown them on the stovetop.
- Add enough liquid (broth, red wine, soup, or tomato juice) to cover the meat.
- Cover and simmer in a 325º F oven for 1 hour. Add vegetables and cook 30 minutes longer. You can also cook in a crockpot for 8-10 hours on low heat.
Expert tip: Stews are also great “second-day” meals that can be reheated in the oven or slow cooker.
Try our recipe for Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew.
Additions to Cold Weather Dinners
No cold weather roast dinner would be complete without the added flavors that aromatics bring. What are aromatics? They are vegetables and herbs that add a well-rounded flavor and enticing aroma to all hearty winter recipes. Examples are:
- Fresh Herbs