It’s just starting to get chilly in Chicago, and I’m sure cold snaps, high winds and snow days are on the way. While some people see this as a reason to head south, I see it as the perfect opportunity to cook. In the summer months, I eat a lot of salads, seafood and light dishes. But in fall and winter, I look forward to preparing comfort food for a crowd. 

It’s always fun to have friends over for a neighborly night in, so I make extra when I cook on the weekends. I keep my dinners simple yet hearty, and serve them family style. A bottle of wine and tasty sides, and you have all the key components for a night in front of the fire (or Sunday football game).  

Of course, I almost never make a meal without adding a dash of “Deb Miley”. This means, taking a recipe and giving it a little makeover. I believe that the right culinary accessories, like seasonings, sauces and sides, can transform traditional dishes. And why not add a little indulgence to your day? You deserve it!

If you want to elevate your next night in, or if you’re hosting guests, raise the bar with these modern takes on traditional comfort foods. This week, I’m feeling inspired by fall’s favorite ingredient: beef! 

Comfort Food Remix 

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables & Red Wine Gravy
Side: Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir

My favorite pot roast recipe is actually a twist on my grandfather’s beef stew. I cook it low and slow in my Dutch oven with red wine, baby potatoes, carrots, thyme, beef broth and my grandfather’s secret ingredient… Wondra Flour! It dissolves better than regular flour, ensuring a thick, lump-free gravy. I also dust the beef with it prior to searing. The result? A savory, melt-in-your-mouth pot roast with silky, robust gravy. 

French Beef Bourguignon
Side: Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Wine Pairing: Red Burgundy

I’ve lived in Paris, so I love a French-inspired meal. Beef Bourguignon is a stylish version of classic beef stew—made popular in America thanks to Julia Child. I start with smoky bacon or, for an Italian twist, pancetta. I layer bold flavors, button mushrooms and fresh herbs to add complexity to every bite. Cooked down for hours with a bottle of wine (yes an entire bottle!), and you’ll have a tender and rich stew that’s dressed to impress. 

Garlic & Herb Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Crema
Side: Dauphinoise Potatoes  
Wine Pairing: California Cabernet

If you read last week’s blog, you might remember this irresistible tenderloin. Featuring a buttery cut of beef dolloped with horseradish crema, it’s a versatile dish that can be prepared as an appetizer or main meal. It’s a sophisticated alternative to steak, especially when it’s too cold to grill. Simply sear the meat in a cast-iron skillet and cook it in the oven until it’s medium rare. Cool, slice and serve with the crema (and extra on the side).  

Just in time for the holidays… Enjoy your favorite comfort foods and traditional holiday dishes without any of the stress. Spots are filling up fast, so contact me today to reserve your party. Plus, receive a special gift when you book before 12/31/16!