Skiing is one of my favorite activities. After a long day on the slopes, there's nothing better than warming up by the fire and enjoying a tipple or two. While I'm sadly not going skiing this year, that doesn't mean I can't eat and drink like I am. Today's post is inspired by après ski culture. A hearty stew is the perfect thing to restore your energy after a hard day of skiing. Baked camembert with cornichons creates a simple appetizer, inspired by Les Portes du Soleil in France. Boozy hot chocolate is a sweet end to this meal and warms you up from the inside out. Ideally enjoyed in a ski lodge, this meal is ideal on a cold winter's day.
Making beef stew is a laborious process, but you can make this a few days ahead. I used Ina Garten's ultimate beef stew recipe. This is a forgiving recipe and I made a few modifications. I substituted 2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast for the boneless short ribs. Cut the chuck roast into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Before browning, toss the beef in 2 cups of flour mixed with 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper. Brown the meat according to the recipe. I used bacon instead of pancetta, simply because it's what I had on hand. I added carrots, potatoes, and peas according to the recipe, but next time plan to include mushrooms. If you don't like fennel, you could substitute celery.
Make the beef stew a few days ahead then rewarm on the stovetop before serving. You will probably need to add extra beef stock to reach the right consistency. (I added about a cup.) This recipe made 4 quarts and freezes well.
I love "one bowl" meals.
Get the Recipe: Barefoot Contessa Ultimate Beef Stew
For an easy appetizer, serve baked camembert. My family and I recently enjoyed this while vacationing in the Blue Ridge mountains. I made this one afternoon and we devoured it while playing card games.
Remove the camembert from the wax paper and return it to its box. If the box is only held together with glue (versus staples), wrap aluminum foil around the base. Deeply score the top of the cheese. Pour 1 tablespoon of white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc) over the top of the camembert and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately with cornichons and toasted bread.
For boozy hot chocolate, simply add 1.5 ounces of Baileys Irish Cream to your favorite hot chocolate recipe. Top with whipped cream. I previously shared my brother William's hot chocolate recipe HERE.
Get the Look:
I kept the setting casual with some red and white dish towels. Serve up piping hot bowls of stew and dinner is served. We enjoyed champagne with our stew, but red wine would also be delicious.
Thanks for reading!