One-Pot Winter Warmers

Enjoy the simple but elegant pleasures of a delicious stew that’ll take the edge off the cold.
Published November 5, 2015

On cold days, we love to hunker down at home. Not as a sign of resignation; but more a badge of honour, a fair-weather response to chilly winter days. A good movie, a mean game of cards, something interesting on cable, a glass of wine, a good book — together, these stand up to winter’s formidable line-up. But when combined with a quick and delicious stew that’ll take the edge off the cold? Winter hardly stands a chance. 

Any good winter warmer stew should satisfy two criteria for a comforting lunch or dinner: Can it be made in one pot? Does it support the hibernating impulse?

Nothing beats a good curry, and our Shrimp and Squash Vindaloo is the ultimate warmer. Curry’s just a spice mixture so don’t settle for the standard yellow, chalky, bottled variety. Check out specialty markets or East Indian suppliers on the Web. You’ll find that curry powder comes in a wide range, and one will fit your taste. And the best part about curry powder? It does the work for you, providing an all-day-simmered taste with nothing more than a measuring spoon.

Even hot-weather cultures like Brazil have their hunker-down dishes. Caldo Verde is something of a national passion in the land of bikinis — a healthy, creamless creamy soup that cries out for a piece of crunchy cornbread.

In the end, here’s our salute to winter. Knock yourself out, north wind. We’re inside, safe and warm.

Shrimp and squash vindaloo
Although we know it from Indian restaurants, "vindaloo" is actually a Portuguese dish (the name means ""wine and garlic""), transplanted by merchants and colonists. Once on the subcontinent, the stew morphed into a delicious, fiery curry.

Makes 5 cups; 4 servings


2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 medium acorn squash
1 spray nonstick cooking spray
3 medium shallots, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fat-free, no-sodium vegetable broth
1 pound medium shrimp (at about 35 shrimp per pound), peeled and deveined


  1. In a small bowl, stir the vinegar, curry powder, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, salt, and cayenne, if using, until the mixture forms a paste. Set aside.
  2. Cut the squash in half along its "equator"; scoop out the seeds with a small spoon, preferably a grapefruit spoon. Set the squash cut side down on a cutting board; use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin, shaving along the natural arc of the flesh. Cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes, repeat with the second squash half, and set aside.
  3. Spray a large saucepan with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic; cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the prepared curry paste; cook, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds.
  4. Add the squash; cook, stirring all the while, until coated in the spices, about 20 seconds.
  5. Pour in the broth; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the shrimp. Cover again and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 3 minutes.

Serving size: 1 1/4 cups.

Caldo Verde

Grated into the soup, the potato melts, its starch thickening the broth into a creamy winter warmer.

Makes 6 cups; 4 servings


1 spray nonstick cooking spray
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
4 cups chicken broth
1 medium baking potato (about 8 ounces), peeled
4 cups stemmed and shredded kale
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 dashes hot red pepper sauce


  1. Spray a large saucepan with nonstick spray; set over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds.
  2. Add the sausage; cook, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth; bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  4. Using the small holes of a box grater, grate the potato into the stew. Stir well while returning to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
  5. Stir in the kale; cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, and hot red pepper sauce before serving.

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups.