The "polar vortex" may have passed, but we're still in the midst of deep, dark winter (and will be for the next two months). It's time to break out the big guns of winter cooking — stews. Soup's big bro is thicker, heartier, and more filling than a bowl of broth with a few veggies in it. The five recipes below are serious stews, with tons of meat, vegetables, beans, and even grains to keep you warm and full 'till the groundhog doesn't see his shadow (fingers crossed).
Ecuadorian Chicken and Rice Stew via Katie at the Kitchen Door
falsePhoto: Katie Morris / Katie at the Kitchen Door
If you can't spring for a warm-weather vacation to break up the monotonous winter, this stew is a nice consolation prize (and can be made on any budget). The chicken and veggies are tasty, but spices like cumin, bay leaves, paprika, and achiote paste and herbs like oregano, parsley, and cilantro really make this dish sing.
Curried Vegetable Stew with Quinoa via The Endless Meal
falsePhoto: Kristen / The Endless Meal
Satisfying? Check. Protein-filled? Check. Vegan? Check. This totally meat- and dairy-free dish proves that vegan cooking can be totally hearty (because really, who wants a cold spinach salad in mid-January?). With quinoa and black beans for protein, this dish will fill you up and keep you warm.
African Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach via Veggie with a Cause
falsePhoto: Veggie with a Cause
If your tastebuds need a vacation from bland bean soups, this stew is the perfect solution. With cumin, ginger, cloves, cayenne pepper, and peanut butter, this dish doesn't lack for flavor. Plus, it totally justifies eating peanut butter for dinner.
Moroccan-Style Vegetable and Chickpea Stew via The First Mess
falsePhoto: Laura Wright / The First Mess
This spicy, bright, veggie-rich stew is just the ticket for long, cold, mid-winter days and nights. Chopped dates, sweet potatoes, and a sprinkle of cinnamon bring this dish right to the edge of sweet territory, but the veggies, chickpeas, and onions keep it on the savory side.
Boeuf Bourguignon via Slim Palate
falsePhoto: Joshua Weissman / Slim Palate
It wouldn't be winter without at least one rich, decadent, rib-sticking meal. In that sense, this French beef stew, classically made famous by Julia Child, is the perfect cold-weather comfort food. Made with bacon, red wine, and butter, it's definitely not an everyday dish — which is precisely what makes it so special. Balance this intense stew by serving it with a fresh green salad.
What's your favorite wintery stew? Share it in the comments below or get in touch on Twitter @SophBreene.