As the East Coast emerges from days of single-digit temps and frozen water in every possible form, all I want to come home to after a long day of slush-dodging is a steaming pot of stew, thick and rich and brimming with long-cooked flavor. Apart from filling your belly, stews and braises that need hours of simmering will help keep your kitchen toasty—and they're easy to make in bulk, ensuring lots of leftovers so your weekday lunches can keep you warm, too. Here's a whopping 28 recipes for stews and braises to see you through winter, from pork, beef, and vegan chilis to pressure-cooker chicken stews and Chipotle-style beef barbacoa.
Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs With Cabbage and Bacon
This one-skillet dish relies on a tried-and-true formula for a hearty cold-weather dinner: chicken thighs with crispy skin, braised in an aromatic-laced liquid, with a side of vegetables cooked in the same pan. To make sure that exterior browns and crisps, though, we stop short of a real braise here, adding just enough liquid to cover the meat without reaching the skin—the meat ends up with the same fall-apart-tender texture you'd expect from a braise.
Easy One-Pot Chicken Tinga (Spicy Mexican Shredded Chicken)
The key to delicious spicy chicken tinga isn't hard-to-find Mexican chorizo—it's using skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, which contain plenty of connective tissue to add flavor. We add chipotle chilies toward the end of the cooking for a deeper smokiness, and use tomatillos in addition to tomatoes for a bit of bright acidity.
Colombian Chicken Stew With Potatoes, Tomato, and Onion
A pressure cooker cuts down dramatically on the time needed to make a stew, as exemplified by this dead-simple Colombian recipe. No need to pre-sear the chicken, and no extra liquid required—just dump in the ingredients and cook at high pressure for less than half an hour. Everything will be magically transformed into a rich stew with a mouth-coating broth that's drawn entirely from the chicken and vegetables themselves.
30-Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken With Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Chorizo
Spanish-style chorizo and bone-in, skin-on chicken lend big, meaty flavor to this super-fast dish—so much flavor that you should feel perfectly comfortable using canned chickpeas and canned fire-roasted tomatoes instead of fresh. A generous dose of Spanish paprika amplifies the smokiness.
Quick and Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Stew
Because black beans are the one type of bean that doesn't require pre-soaking—and, in fact, their flavor is actually better when they remain unsoaked—you can make this stew without any prep the night before. Andouille or kielbasa piles on the flavor, along with warming cumin and bright green chilies. This one takes a bit longer due to the beans, but it's still ready in about an hour.
Coq au Vin (Chicken Braised in Red Wine)
A classic coq au vin recipe from back in the day would have you cook the meat for hours, but that's because of the coq part—tough old rooster meat takes forever to soften up, while these days, most of us make our braises with tender hens. That's good news for you, because it means that this rustically elegant recipe takes just a few hours instead of all day. We add red wine, pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon lardons to create a rich, full-bodied braise.
The Best Chicken Paprikash
For the ultimate in this recipe, based on a traditional Hungarian dish, we combine deeply seared chicken legs and lightly browned onions and red bell pepper, then build a complexly flavored sauce of sour cream, lemon juice, herbs, and fish sauce (for a savory boost). Looking for something quicker? Our four-ingredient paprikash cuts the recipe down to the basics, but still delivers.
Carne Adovada (New Mexico-Style Pork With Red Chilies)
The star of this New Mexican dish is the red chili sauce, which we make with a blend of peppers—dried pasillas and anchos and canned chipotles in adobo—to give it a deep, complex heat. For some fruitiness to temper the fat in the pork, we add raisins and frozen orange juice concentrate—we swear it's better than fresh, as it lends bright sweetness without an overtly citrusy flavor.
Easy Pork and 3-Bean Chili
If you think, like we do, that a chili based on meat can still benefit from the addition of beans, here's a simple version that puts both to work. Red kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas combine with diced pork shoulder, spices, and aromatics for a stew with plenty of varied texture and flavor. Use dried beans if you like, but canned will work fine as long as you braise them thoroughly.
Slow-Cooker Pulled-Pork Chili With Cornbread Dumplings
Far outside chili norms, but absolutely worth the break with tradition, this one starts with pork shoulder that's slow-cooked with spices, light brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and (the secret weapon) unsweetened cocoa powder until it's tender and shreddable. We then top it with cornbread drop dumplings, which steam in the moist heat of the slow cooker.
Greek Drunken Pork Stew in Red Wine
This stew takes a couple of hours to cook, but only 15 minutes to prep, and it tastes like it cooked all day. We coat pork shoulder with bold, pungent Dijon mustard, then sauté chopped aromatics, add a dry red wine, tomato juice, and spices, and just let it sit until the meat is fork-tender.
Shanghainese Sticky Red-Cooked Pork Belly
Pork dishes symbolize abundance and wealth in traditional Chinese celebrations, and this intensely rich pork belly preparation certainly eats like it's meant for royalty. We give the belly a quick boil just to help set its shape, then coat it with a glossy caramel sauce flavored with ginger, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon. A couple of hours of simmering brings the pork to a melting texture.
Hearty One-Pot Black-Eyed Pea Stew With Kale and Andouille
This Cajun-inspired stew starts with smoky andouille sausage and fatty pork belly, plus the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking: onions, celery, and green bell pepper, plus leeks and garlic for extra aromatic flavor. Black-eyed peas, cooked until soft and creamy inside, and wilted kale leaves add body and extra nutrition. A shot of apple cider vinegar balances the stew with acidity.
Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew With Red Wine, Mushrooms, and Bacon)
Boeuf Bourguignon is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest beef stews, if not the greatest. Boneless beef chuck is our pick, but there are other options—what's more important is that you brown your beef in big slabs and then cut it into relatively large cubes, which helps keep it from drying out. And, while people generally associate stews with long cook times, be careful to not overdo it.
All-American Beef Stew
If you're after the best straightforward, no-nonsense American beef stew—we're talking juicy chunks of beef coated in a rich, glistening sauce, with vegetables that contribute real texture and flavor of their own—this recipe includes all our core rules. Sear the meat before cubing; cook two batches of vegetables (one just for flavoring the stew, one to serve with it); avoid store-bought beef stock at all costs (chicken stock is leagues better); and thicken it with a mixture of flour and gelatin (since too much flour dulls flavor).
Hungarian Goulash (Beef Stew With Paprika)
There are infinite variations on goulash out there, but this rib-sticking Hungarian-American version is the one we find most satisfying on a cold day. It's based on our American beef stew recipe, but incorporates a half cup of paprika—use the good-quality stuff. A splash of cider vinegar adds tartness, and a sprinkle of parsley leaves gives it some fresh herbal flavor.
Rich and Flavorful Guinness Beef Stew With Potatoes
Honestly, how many of us have ever had a Guinness stew that really tasted like Guinness? The stout is mild to begin with, and after a few hours of stewing, you're unlikely to discern any traces of it. Our solution: Reinforce its roasty coffee and chocolate notes with real chocolate and coffee. The result is a stew of tender beef chunks and fresh, just-cooked-enough vegetables, flavored with a healthy dose of Ireland's most famous beer.
Red Wine-Braised Beef Shanks
About two full bottles' worth of dry red go into braising these hearty beef shanks until they're falling off the bone—boxed wine is probably your most economical choice. The braising liquid and aromatics are blended up into a smooth, rich sauce.
1-Hour Pressure Cooker Texas-Style Chile Con Carne
An honest-to-goodness Texan chile con carne that takes only an hour, but that's as complex as an all-day version? It can be yours, with help from a pressure cooker and a blend of dried and canned chilies. We use a mix of dried sweet peppers (like costeños or choriceros), fiery peppers (like chiles de árbol or cascabel), and fruity peppers (like ancho chilies and pasillas), plus canned chipotles in adobo, for the deepest flavor.
Better Than Chipotle's Beef Barbacoa
Traditional barbacoa is made by slow-cooking whole sheep in open pits, and if you've got the equipment and the time for that, we applaud your efforts (and your nonconformity). But if all you need is a beef barbacoa to rival Chipotle's, this recipe will do it. We use deeply seared oxtails to infuse the dish with flavor, then gently braise the beef chuck in a liquid spiced with a variety of fruity, bright peppers.
Slow-Cooker Harissa Beef Stew With Lemon Yogurt
We may not usually think of beef stew as an exotic dish, but a little tweak of the seasonings goes a long way. Here, we add harissa spices, like paprika, chili powder, cinnamon, coriander, mint, and caraway, plus pickled peperoncini for tartness and Worcestershire sauce for depth. Finishing the dish with a lemon yogurt balances the spices nicely.
Jamaican Beef Stew With Rice
Two habanero peppers load up this beef stew with plenty of West Indian fire—you can replace them with something milder to your taste, but you'll be losing their delicious fruitiness. Allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar, soy sauce, and steak sauce combine to make a heady homemade version of jerk seasoning.
A Mix of Meats
Traditional French Cassoulet
This cassoulet recipe—one of thousands in existence—replicates the version we tried in the home of cassoulet, the French region of Languedoc. It's looser than you might expect, almost soup-like, with beans and meats galore swimming in a gelatin-rich broth. Duck is traditional in cassoulet because it was cheap in medieval southern France, but it's expensive in modern America—so we recommend that you use chicken instead, and, if you miss the flavor, add some store-bought duck fat.
Tender and Juicy Slow-Cooker Meatballs
To be perfectly honest, these meatballs, made with a blend of ground beef and pork, aren't actually slow-cooked: You'll want to cook them for only about 30 minutes to keep them from drying out. The tomato sauce, on the other hand, does get better over time—we let it sit for at least six hours before adding the meatballs, resulting in moist, tender meat coated in a rich gravy.
Black Bean Soup With Chorizo and Braised Chicken
For this hearty stew, we slowly layer ingredients in order to fully extract their flavors: First, we sear the chicken until it's deeply browned, then add the smoky chorizo until it's crisp. Aromatics and chipotles in adobo follow, after which we add back the chicken, plus canned or cooked dried black beans, and braise it until all the flavors nicely meld.
Quick and Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken, Lentil, and Bacon Stew With Carrots
This thick chicken and bacon stew is pure comfort: The bacon lardons render out fat, which emulsifies the chicken stock and starch from the lentils, yielding a super-creamy consistency. By boiling the stew for about five minutes after releasing the pressure, you'll reduce it for an even richer result.
Vegan Sweet Potato and 2-Bean Chili With Hominy
Kidney beans, black beans, and diced sweet potatoes are all perfect ingredients for a filling vegan chili, but they also risk a sort of uniform mushiness. To mix up the texture a little bit, add chewy hominy, plus masa harina to thicken up the chili beautifully and add even more flavor.
Braised Long Beans With Tomatoes, Garlic, and Mint
It's a side dish, not a main, but it's still as warming and satisfying as any of our meat-heavy stews. Although most of us have been trained to avoid overcooking vegetables, there are members of that family that really benefit from a prolonged period on the stove. Tough long beans, for instance, get wonderfully tender and flavorful when they're cooked down heavily with chunky crushed tomatoes.