I've written a lot about Hygge (pronounced hoo-gwa) over the past month or so. It's a Danish lifestyle/mindset that embraces slow living, being in the present and taking the time to appreciate the ordinary. Now I will share ideas about creating a Hygge kitchen, or more importantly the delightful meals that emerge from there - the hearty soups and stews and soul warming comfort foods to eat alone or share with others, served with loaves of steaming crusty bread, bottles of wine, warm cups of cocoa or coffee and tantalizing desserts. The Hygge meal, much like the Hygge home, is one of comfort. Now that the temperatures have taken a dip again, now that we're burning fires in our fireplaces and cranking up our furnaces, now is the time to make something warm and soul-satisfying in our kitchens. Below are some ideas - Why not pick up a few bottles of wine and invite a few friends over to enjoy a Hygge evening with you!
A big pot of soup, some crusty bread and a bottle of wine might be the ultimate comfort food. Toss some meat and pasta into your soup and it becomes hearty and soul satisfying. Why not bring the whole pot onto the table and gather your friends and family around it.
The heartiness of chowder makes it a New England favorite. Though not all chowders are creamy or cream-based, this one takes the heartiness of a traditional chowder and infuses it with flavors and colors from south of the border. While nothing pairs more perfectly with soup than a loaf of bread, but this one might do well with some crispy tortillas.
Now we have a trifecta - bread, soup and cheese. Add some onions and now it's perfection. French onion soup is, in my opinion, the ultimate Hygge meal. We made this the other night from the Williams-Sonoma Soup cookbook (page 11) in our brand new Williams-Sonoma Pacifica soup bowls. I love them so! Here is the recipe. It serves 6. It fed 4 of us!
This Swiss tradition of melting and scraping Raclette cheese onto meats, bread, potatoes and vegetables is another fun crowd pleaser. While you're waiting for your cheese to melt, why not break out a game of Cards Against Humanity? I wrote all about raclette here. If you can't find Raclette cheese, you can substitute Yarlsberg, Swiss, or my favorite, Gryere.
And there are the mac and cheese die hards. Those who know that anything out of a box is just not mac and cheese. And the true die hards say the richer and creamier the better. It may be an east coast thang, but Mac and Cheese is just plain ol' mac and cheese without a little lobstah in it!
I was recently introduced to this. I want to scream from all the rooftops and say "Caccio e Pepe, where have you been all my life?" This simple Roman treat has been growing in popularity here in the states over the past few years. One bite and you'll immediately know why. So simple and so spectacular. Just 5 ingredients for one of the tastiest pasta recipes you've come across so far. The Recipe is from Food & Wine. (Click on the source above. Bon Appetit has a great recipe as well. You want your pasta to appear creamy. The creaminess is rendered from the pasta water added to the cheese. For realz. Your eyes will roll back in your head.
Caccio e Peppe Pizza. I mean really, what's not to love? (Note to self: MUST try this on a carb day!)
Paella may very well be the only true year-round hygee meal. It's wonderful both in the summertime and in the wintertime! This seafood and rice dish, served from the very pan it's cooked in hails from the Catalan region of Spain but is now found world-wide. We add chicken and chorizo to ours. It's fairly laborious and time intensive but so worth it!
The truest of carnivores may want to break bread and share wine with a really good filet mignon. This recipe, with a mushroom cream sauce is decadently hygge! Click on the source for the full recipe.
To many nothing says comfort like a rich, hearty and slow cooked Boeuf Bourguignon once made famous by Julia Child. While I'm not really a red meat eater per se, this has me salivating and yearning for some of my own!
So the next time the temperatures plummet and the snow starts to fall, invite some friends over around the hygge table!