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Peanut Butter Nutella Blondies

December 3, 2018

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I love Christmastime for the lights, the festivities, the togetherness, the panettone and the pudding, the glitter and the glogg. But I do not love the presents. It often feels like ’tis the season for buying things for the sake of checking names off a list and for receiving things you don’t need or want. One way to bypass most of Christmas-related present-buying stress is to make three or four big batches of cookies, brownies and bars, then mix and wrap them up in paper or pretty bags and give them as gifts.* It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s cheap and people will appreciate getting a dozen homemade blondies a lot more than having to figure out how to regift that holiday themed oven mitt.


If you’re looking for the perfect medley of giftable treats, I recommend my biscotti, some kind of classic cookie, and these peanut butter Nutella blondies. As far as effort goes, it’s next to nothing. I made these last night while waiting for the pasta water to boil, true story.



These are one of the best things I’ve ever made. Never have I received so much praise for such little effort. They take no time, no effort, no cleaning up, just a very healthy amount of our favorite things: butter, sugar and chocolate. Below recipe adapted from this one on Averie Cooks, where peanut butter chips are used instead of chocolate chips and only Nutella is spooned on top. It’s super adaptable, so use what you have or what you feel like! 

1/2 cup (115 grams/1 stick) butter, melted

1 egg

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 cup chocolate chips

peanut butter


Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Prepare a baking tin by coating the bottom and sides in butter. If you don’t have a tin you can use a tray.

In a large bowl, beat the melted butter, egg and sugar until creamy. Use a wooden spoon to mix in the flour and chocolate chips. Plop the batter into the prepared tin. Spoon big dollops of peanut butter and/or nutella on top, as much as you want.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait until almost completely cool before slicing.

*If you want to give more substantial baked goods, check out my pumpkin bread, which makes perfect little loaves.

The Best Meatballs for Spaghetti

October 5, 2018


I am fully aware as I start this post that there’s pretty much zero possibility of me getting through it without making at least one ball joke so I think it’s best for everyone if I keep it short. I often find that the simplest things are the hardest to make. Meatballs seems so straightforward but so often they’re bland and hard and….I’m done…just gonna bow out here and save us all. Here is the best recipe I’ve ever found and the one I turn to time and time again for meatballs. Nothing funny about that.



This is my own lazy version of a popular recipe by Kittencals I originally found here but can no longer access due to EU data protection laws. In any case, it’s great and easily messed with. Leave things out you don’t have already, add things you do. This recipe makes a ton of meatballs – enough for 8 people at least – but it freezes so well, you might as well make a big batch.

For the meatballs:

3.5 pounds ground beef & pork (I use about half beef, half pork and meat with the highest percentages of fat)

3 eggs

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup milk

1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (I skip this when I’m too lazy to grate it)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1.5 teaspoon salt (don’t skimp!)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

For sauce: (you want to make sure the meatballs are mostly covered, use however much does the trick)

1 large jar (700 g) passata (unseasoned tomato puree)

1 large can peeled tomatoes

1 small can pizza sauce (seasoned tomato puree)


To serve: 2 pounds (1 kg) very al dente spaghetti & lots of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Start by making the meat mixture: For the meatballs, mix all the ingredients except the meat together in a really big bowl with a whisk. Then use your hands to gently but thoroughly mix in the meat.

Next, make the sauce: in a very large pot (preferrably with a wide bottom), mix all the sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer while you form the meat mixture into balls of a similar size.

Plop the balls directly into the bubbling sauce. Cook over low heat, covered, and don’t stir for at least 15 minutes or else the meatballs will break. Remove cover and gently stir so the meatballs all have time to cook under the sauce. Don’t turn up the heat or the meat will stick to the bottom and break. Continue cooking until meatballs are cooked through, at least 35 minutes, and until sauce is reduced to your liking. (It’s OK if it’s a little watery, as you can undercook the pasta and the finish it in the sauce, which will be soaked right up.) You can make this a few days ahead of time, just keep the whole cooled pot in the fridge until you need it. Just remember to stir gently.

To serve, mix very al dente spaghetti with the bubbling sauce, cook together for a minute, stirring gently. Top bowls of pasta mixed with sauce with the meatballs and ample freshly grated parmigiano.


Asparagus & Garden Pea Risotto

July 2, 2018


I’m not an asparagus person. There’s something unpalatable to me about the stringiness, the taste and the smell that pops up hours – days! – later when you least expect it. But this risotto has me on an asparagus kick and wondering what else lives in Asparagus World that I should be eating. But because I am now the mother of THREE human children (two of whom are under the age of 2 and do not sleep through the night) and I’m typing this out while watching the World Cup quarter finals and eating frozen chocolate chip cookies (it’s hot) (not that it has to be hot to eat them frozen, I always eat them frozen) I’m going to skimp on the newsy opening blurb and just get to the point: this risotto is really good. I’ve made it twice in the last few weeks and am planning to make it again.

It highlights fresh garden peas (the ones you buy still in their shells) and asparagus, two things best bought in spring when they’re harvested. The pea flavor is revved up here by using a super simple broth made from boiling the pea shells rather than a chicken broth to make the risotto. The asparagus flavor is highlighted by pureeing boiled asparagus stalks (which aren’t as nice to eat as the tender tips anyway) and then mixing that “asparagus cream” into the risotto at the end.

If you’re low on time/energy or you have a life and can’t be bothered to shell a kilogram of peas (it takes…a while) or it’s not garden pea season, you can definitely substitute frozen garden peas and forgo the pea broth and use the standard chicken or veggie broth. If you can’t be bothered to puree a bunch of boiled asparagus stems, it’s whatevs. This is risotto: the only real rules are in the method and the rice.



A fussy but worth it vegetarian risotto that really shows off spring’s bounty. 500 grams/1 lb of risotto rice should be enough for 4 – 6 people. Some of the steps can be skimped on (see: shelling 1 kilogram of peas) but I’d definitely recommend making the asparagus stem puree to add a ton of flavor. 

3 – 4 bunches asparagus

1 kg / 2.2 lbs garden peas (in their shells)

2 shallots, diced

500 grams / 1 lb risotto rice (carnaroli or vialone nano; arborio is far inferior here)

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

1 cup white wine

a big pot of broth (can be homemade pea broth made from the pea shells, see below, or chicken broth)

1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

about 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes

  • Shell and Boil the Peas: Remove the peas from their shells; save the shells if you want to make pea broth. 1 kg of peas in their shells takes awhile so make it a group activity if you can. Bring a pot of water to boil and boil the peas for 2 minutes then immediatly strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. NB: garden peas need to boiled separately; don’t try to cook them from raw in the risotto. If you’re using frozen peas, just add them at the very end of cooking the risotto, a minute before you “mantecare” it.
  • Make the Pea Broth (optional): To make pea broth, simply cover all the shells, a chopped carrot and a chopped onion with a dash of salt in a lot of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 mins. Set aside and reheat when ready to make risotto.
  • Make the Crema di Asparagi: Cut off the delicate tips of the asparagus and reserve; you’ll be frying these up as a garnish. Boil the asparagus stalks until very soft, about 20 mins. Remove most of the water then blend with a handheld blender until completely smooth soft creamy. Set aside for later.
  • Make the asparagus garnish: Fry the tips of the asparagus in a little olive oil and salt, covered, until browned and almost crispy, about 20 mins. Turn often. Set aside.
  • Make the risotto:
    • heat the broth in a pot so it’s steaming; you’ll be adding hot broth to the rice. In a large pot over low heat, melt the butter or olive oil and add the diced shallots. Don’t let them brown. After a few minutes, when the shallots are fragrant and no longer opaque, add the rice. With a wooden spoon, stir over medium heat for a few minutes to toast, then add the wine. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the smell of alcohol has cooked off.
    • Now start to add the heated broth, one ladleful at a time, cooking over low-medium heat. Wait until one ladleful is mostly absorbed by the rice before adding the next, stirring most of the time so nothing sticks to the bottom and the rice cooks evenly. Grate your parmigiano while you make the risotto.
    • After about 15 – 20 mins, start taste-testing the rice to see how al dente it is. You’ll want to stop adding broth when it’s still a tiny bit undercooked, with a lot of bite left in it.
    • When it’s still just a few minutes underdone, add the crema di asparagi and stir it all in. When rice is al dente, turn off heat. It shouldn’t be liquidy at all. Now quickly add the peas (pre-boiled garden peas or frozen peas), the chopped butter and most of the parmigiano. Mix with only 2 or 3 big stirs then COVER AND LEAVE IT for 5 full minutes. This is called “mantecare” and is the key to a perfect risotto. Set your timer and walk away. Clean up a bit, drink some wine, gently heat your asparagus tips and wait.
    • After five minutes, uncover the risotto – it should be perfect. Scoop into individual bowls and top with the fried asparagus tips that you’ve warmed, the remaining grated parmigiano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

The Apple Cake

February 14, 2018



I’ve forever been on the hunt for The Apple Cake. Like The Bran Muffin, the homemade version has always, invariably eluded me. (For a historical explanation, feel free to read this post about my moist apple cake, which has been kindly filling the void where The Apple Cake should be. Or you could try this pleasant, apple-rich version that will use up lots of apples but won’t blow your mind. I once made this absolutely beautiful and delicious meld between an apple tart and cake, though it isn’t exactly – or even remotely – The Apple Cake I’ve been looking for. Over the years, there have been countless other contenders that I’ve never bothered to post about [but had no problem eating] in the quest for The Apple Cake.)

So what is The Apple Cake I’ve been looking for? It’s moist and full of big chunks of fruit. It’s a little sweet but plain enough for breakfast and possibly topped with a simple crumble. Seems simple but it’s usually the simplest things that are the hardest to get right.

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When I stumbled across this recipe, called Heavenly Apple Cake, while looking for something (chocolatey) to make for Eric’s birthday, I couldn’t not make it: not only did it have perfect reviews, but it might, just might, be It. Plus, at 39 weeks pregnant, I’m listening to my cravings and all my cravings point directly to cake. After a bout of sinusitis that robbed me of tastebuds for a month, I’m back on the Eating All The Things Wagon, baking cake at a rate of about one every two days. So this would also be a little break from the lemon drizzle cake I’ve been really, really (really) into recently.

So how is it? It’s definitely a keeper. It’s a good, solid, everyday cake. Every time I walk into the kitchen, I can’t help but take another slice. It’s absurdly easy to make and clean up after – it’s a one-bowl, no-creaming, no-fancy-stuff wonder. You just mix some flour, sugar, baking soda and spices with melted butter, eggs, apples and brandy-soaked dates. That’s really it. The result is a very moist, very flavorful cake with a crunchy top and a soft, fruity middle. Its real beauty is in its adaptability – the apples can be substituted with any fruit, the dates with prunes or raisins, the brandy with any other liquid. The way I made it, with apples (and a pear), dates and brandy, it is really sweet and really boozy. If I sub the dates with raisins and the brandy with orange juice, I think it’ll be even better. Maybe I’ll switch out a little of the flour for almond meal next time I need to make this cake/tomorrow…

But is it The Apple Cake? You know, with some tinkering – and maybe a little crumble – it might just be.

UPDATE: I made this cake again (literally two days after the first time) and it’s nearly perfect. The recipe below now reflects what I did the second time around and what’s what I think makes as close to the perfect Apple Cake as I may ever find.

UPDATE No. 2: I have recently been using this recipe every time an apple cake craving hits (sooo about every other day). I make a ton of changes – I add about 1- 2 cups grated apple, reduce the sugar to 1 cup, reduce the oil to 1 cup, don’t add raisins or nuts, and just throw all the batter ingredients in a big bowl with an enormous quantity of roughly chopped apples and bake it. Sometimes I add a lot of chopped, grated and ground ginger. Is it better than the below recipe? I don’t know. But does it even matter?



Adapted very liberally from this recipe , aptly called Heavenly Apple Cake. It’s supremely easy to make – it’s just one bowl, no creaming, almost no clean up, an eyes-closed kind of recipe. I’ve made it three times now and no matter how I tinker – no spices, adding vanilla extract, adding some ground almonds and almond essence, adding a crumble on top – it’s been delicious. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar but I found that sickly sweet so recommend you reduce to 1 cup sugar (or even less if you prefer). I love my booze but I found the taste of brandy in the original way too pronounced, so now I orange juice and was really happy with it; feel free to soak the dates in another liquid, like apple cider, tea or apple juice. You could also add nuts if you’re in that. I also found the baking soda called for in the original a little on the metallic side, so substituted half with baking powder. I have a feeling this recipe is made to be messed with.

1/2 to 3/4 cups chopped dates

1/2 to 3/4 cups apple or orange juice (or brandy, as called for in the original recipe)

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar (any combo of white and brown is fine)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

some sprinkles of cinnamon and a little nutmeg (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 – 8 apples, roughly chopped (you can use pears)

1/2 cup (125 grams/1 stick) butter, melted

3 eggs, beaten

Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with whatever liquid you’re using. Add a little more liquid if they soak it all up.

Preheat the oven to 325F/160C. Using butter, grease a loaf tin, cake pan, or bundt pan (or combo…I used a standard loaf tin and a small bundt). I also recommend throwing a piece of parchment paper on the bottom.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Add the chopped apples, dates/dried fruit in their liquid, melted butter and the eggs; mix well. It’ll look like a ton of apples held together by a little bit of thick batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan(s), and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (the bigger your pan, the more time it will need). Don’t worry too much about over-filling the pans as the cake won’t rise much. It will be done when it’s a dark tan color, springs back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted comes out with crumbs on it but not gooey.

Serve warm with boozy whipped cream for dessert or at room temperature for breakfast or tea. Stays fresh for days.


Extremely Lemony Lemon Drizzle Cake

February 7, 2018


In my fitful sleep, I dream of lemons. Not just lemons. Limes, too. Lemon-lime flavored gummies and jello, cookies and cake. Lemon-scented candles, lime-scented cleaning supplies. Pretty much anything lemony and limey. I’m not sure how but there’s no doubt that my citrus obsession relates to my current state of being really, extremely pregnant and really, extremely congested. And probably isn’t unrelated to the fact that London is in the middle of a record-setting cold snap with which our 150-year-old house is finding hard to compete.

IMG_7603.jpgI am ready to have another baby. Like, really ready. At 37.5 weeks pregnant, baby is fully cooked and I’m fully over it. This pregnancy has not been especially difficult but for a raging sinus infection that has tortured me (and destroyed my ability to breathe, smell and taste) on and off for the last few months. Yes, months. Since early November. The doctors I’ve been to all assure me that for reasons unknown sinus infections are super common in late pregnancy and will clear up as soon as I deliver. “Not long now!” they say with a smile as I storm out of the office, under-prescribed, under-medicated and unimpressed.

With nothing to do but self-medicate, I woke up this morning from another lemon-infused dream knowing that I needed to make the lemony-est cake possible. Something even I, with my nose completely out of commission, could tell was lemony. Something bright and sunny, the opposite of a head cold in an English winter.


And so this cake. Compiled from a bunch of different things I found online (but mostly this recipe), it has the loveliest, moistest, lemon-infused crumb with just the right amount of lemon syrup soaking through, capped by lemon icing.

So if life gives you lemons – or a sinus infection you can’t medicate away – rest easy knowing you can always make this extremely lemony lemon drizzle cake. It’s everything I dreamt it would be.



I lost track of the number of lemons that went into this cake, but I wouldn’t start making it with less than 8 or 9 on hand. Just buy a lot of lemons and be ready to juice and zest. I even topped the cake with zest because I honestly cannot get enough lemons. The thing that makes this cake so special, though, is the crumb. It’s just really, really good. When I’m not on such a lemon-kick, I’ll come back to it for other things, perhaps substituting the lemon juice with orange juice or milk.

ED note: I have made this recipes many more times, sometimes substituting limes for lemons, and it’s always perfect. 

Makes the equivalent of 2 big loaves.

LEMON CAKE (makes the most delightful crumb)

250 grams/2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups sugar (this can be reduced to 1 1/2 cups)

4 large (or 5 medium) eggs

1/3 cup lemon zest (this was about 4 lemons + a lime)

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)

1/2 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup mik + big splash vinegar (or 3/4 cup buttermilk)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice


2 cups icing sugar, sifted

juice of 1 – 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease 2 loaf pans or a bundt pan plus some other small pans. I lined the bottoms with parchment paper in them, too, and they were super easy to remove from the pans.

First, make the cake: In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the eggs and lemon zest. Beat together until very pale and creamy, about 3 minutes.

In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk & vinegar to make a curdled buttermilk-like thing (otherwise, just use 3/4 cup buttermilk). Mix with 3/4 cup lemon juice and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to combine.

Using a spoon or spatula, alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until just combined. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 – 45 mins, testing after 30 mins. They’ll be ready when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out mostly clean or with a few dry crumbs. After a few minutes, carefully remove cakes from pans and cool upside down on a wire rack set over a pan to collect the syrup and glaze drippings.

Now, make the syrup while the cakes cool for a few minutes. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice over medium heat, until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let the glaze cool for a minute or two, then spoon it over the bottoms of the cakes, letting it seep through.

Finally, flip the mostly cooled cakes right-side-up on the wire rack and make the glaze. Whisk together the sifted icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thick, smooth glaze. (Mine came out yellow because I used unrefined icing sugar. Drizzle or pour the glze over the tops of the cakes, letting it drip down the sides.

Frank’s Pasta with Peas

January 19, 2018


Instagram is a wondrous thing. It’s definitely my social media addiction of choice (@leannekilroy) and I find myself getting lost inside its many (many) rabbit holes. (At this point I know everything there is to know about a girl I went to high school’s fiancé’s brother’s wife’s sister’s family, including that one of her rescue dogs, a lab mix, requires that we all pray for it). One of my favorite places to get lost is the feed of NYC restauranteur Frank (@frankprisinzano) and his NYC restaurants (@FrankRestaurant, @LilFrankies, @SupperNYC). I’ve spent too many nights scrolling through the glossy images of pasta and risotto, wiping the drool and planning to copy everything he does.


Living in London means that it’s pretty easy to get an authentic Italian pizza, but it’s pretty impossible to get proper Italian American food. You know what I mean – chicken parm, spaghetti and meatballs and their more creative but no less comforting cohorts. I’m sure Frank would argue that his food isn’t Italian American but authentically Italian, and he’s right. But there’s something more heavy-handed, more unctuous, more satisfying in the way Americans eat, serve and enjoy Italian food. And it’s that abundance, that sauciness, that I crave and miss.

Good thing Frank posted the step-by-step making of an especially delicious looking plate, pasta with tomato sauce and peas, on his feed. I watched, drooled and made my version of it that night. Nothing like my tried and true pasta with peas, it turned out to be one of my most successful new pastas in a long while; everyone in the family – from the protein-obsessed man to the 10-month-old – adored it. Which should not have come as much of a surprise, considering Stella requests Frank’s spaghetti al limone – from his restaurant Supper – on the regular, even for her birthday.

No need to get lost in the Instagram rabbit hole in search of inspiration for tonight’s dinner: try this and save yourself the time and the drool.



Makes enough for 4 generous servings. It’s the best kind of comfort food: dead simple and incredibly satisfying, without being too heavy. It’s even vegetarian! It’s nuts, really, how easy and delicious it is. I’m already planning to make it again very soon. Like tonight. 

2 onions, diced

big glug wine (white or red)

2 8-oz. cans (800 grams) crushed tomatoes

5 – 10 basil leaves

2 bay leaves

3 cups frozen peas

2/3 cup (170 fl) heavy (or double) cream

Finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, about 2/3 cup

1 bag/1 pound/500 grams dried short pasta – we used riccoli, but any short pasta works

In a large pot, sweat the onions in ample extra virgin olive oil over low heat for at least 15 minutes, up to 30. The longer the better. When the onions are clear and fragrant, add a big glug of wine and cook off the liquid until you can’t smell the alcohol anymore, a minute or two. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil and bay leaves and cook over medium heat, stirring every so often, until most of the liquid has been reduced, about 30 – 45 minutes. You can set this aside until you’re ready to make the pasta. (Remove the bay leaves before serving.)

To finish the dish, boil lots of water in a separate pot. Cook your pasta in heavily salted, vigorously boiling water until very al dente then strain (it will continue to cook slightly in the sauce). While the pasta boils, turn up the heat up under the sauce and add the frozen peas. When the pasta is just about ready, but still a teensy bit underdone, add strained pasta to the bubbling sauce, add in the cream and a handful of parimigiano, stirring and cooking for a few minutes, until pasta consistency is perfect.

Serve in bowls with extra grated parmigiano on top.

White Chicken Chili

September 20, 2017


I married someone who loves food as much as I do. When we visited our families this summer we worked through – and smashed – a rather ambitious Must Eat list (pad thai, corn muffins, Anna’s Taqueria super burrito, lobster roll, BBQ chicken calzone, Cape Cod potato chips, blueberry pie, etc. etc. etc.) that we’d posted in my parents’ kitchen. We choose vacation locations based on how well we think we’ll eat. But he’s also someone who goes through phases of controlling his food (high protein, no carbs, 6 meals a day) despite my intense eye rolling, exasperated sighs and general disdain.

But choose your battles one must so choose my battles I do and I genuinely try to cook to his diet, which we can summarize as Lots of Meat And Eggs And Not Much Else. (This isn’t directly relevant but it makes my efforts to cook to someone else’s whims appear all the more valiant so I feel compelled to point out that I’m currently nearly halfway done cooking yet another baby in my body. And I’m not cooking to my cravings. But rather, to my husband’s super important desire to eat protein. There. I said it. I’m done.)

In any case, despite my begrudgingly going along with his new diet (it all comes from a place of love!), scrounging the internets for interesting high-protein meals while eating straight up Pop Tarts from the wrapper, I have discovered some really amazing recipes. This is one of them.


He wanted lots of chicken. I was cold (see: London) and wanted queso (see: pregnant). What to do? I decided to make a souped up (lolz) variation on a White Chicken Chili found on Food52 and not mention that there’s a maybe a litttttle bit of cream and cheese in the soup. The original called for all sorts of things one cannot easily buy in your average London supermarket (half-and-half, pinto beans, poblano peppers) so I did some tinkering and man it was good. Even the baby ate it (which, come to think of it, isn’t saying much). The rich, creaminess comes mostly from a simple roux (with help from a few heavy-handed splashes of cream) and the zesty flavor from the simplest spices (cumin, chili powder, Tabasco).

I won’t even link to the original recipe because I messed with it beyond recognition, but feel free to peruse Food52 for other white chicken chili options.  Though you’ll be hard pressed to find one better than this.


All of the ingredients are flexible and can be adjusted to taste. You can even add some vegetables like summer squash to add some nutrition and flavor. The method is a good one – and can be replicated with all sorts of flavors to make hearty cold weather soups. This made enough for the two of us plus one very big helping of leftovers. (A note about the photos: I took them halfway through cooking, so the chicken – while cooked – wasn’t yet shredding by itself in the soup. You can cook it less with chunky chicken as pictured or keep cooking if you’ve got time for shredded chicken. It’s up to you!)

6 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 jalapeños (or any chili you want), deseeded and chopped (or more to taste) NB: I used a medium squeeze of crushed fresh chili

4 – 8 chicken breasts (or thighs or a mix); the amount of meat is up to you, I used 3 lbs; chopped into 1″ cubes

1/3 cup flour

2 – 4 cups chicken broth (or water with 2 chicken bullion cubes)

1/2 cup cream (I used single cream, you can use heavy cream or half-and-half)

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I used mild)

A few drops of Tabasco

1/2 – 1 cup frozen corn kernels (optional)

1/2 cup Gruyere, grated plus more to serve

Chives or cilantro to serve (optional)

In a large pot, melt a chunk of butter and sautée the onions and chilis or over medium heat until translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. While this cooks, chop the chicken. Scoop out the onions and chili and reserve them in a small bowl. Now turn up the heat a bit and sautée the chicken chunks until starting to brown, then scoop them out and reserve in another bowl.

Melt the rest of the butter in the large pot then add the flour, whisking constantly for 2 minutes until the roux forms. Return the onions and chili to the pot, then slowly add in the broth and the cream, whisking constantly over medium heat for a few minutes unti it starts to bubble and thicken. Return the chicken to the pot and add the beans and the spices – cumin, chili, Tabasco – and some salt and pepper to taste.

Let the soup cook at a low bubble (stirring occasionally) for as long as you want, anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, until chicken is starting to fall apart in the soup. Add more chicken broth (or water) if the soup gets too thick for your liking.

Just before serving, add the corn and 1/2 cup grated Gruyere and stir through. Serve with a little grated Gruyere and some freshly cut chives on top.