‘Tis the holiday season, the end of the year, and the end of the semester. That means there are presents to buy, parties to attend, and papers to write—busy, busy, busy. I barely have time to button up my cardigan in between engagements, so I’m looking for some quick, easy meals to keep me warm. To ensure access to hearty fare, I’m cooking in bulk on Sunday, reheating, and eating a select few dishes.
My favorite make-ahead meal from our archives is Short Ribs Braised in Coffee Ancho Chile Sauce. These ribs cook low and slow in a rich sauce incorporating chipotle chiles in adobo and maple syrup. My brother calls them “zombie ribs” because the hunks of meat protruding from the deep red liquid do look a little ghoulish; but he always cleans the bones. They’re stellar served over potatoes or polenta. To store, just cool completely and refrigerate. Before reheating, remove the solidified fat that rises to the surface of the sauce.
To mix it up, I’m making Pinto-Bean Mole Chili and Curried Red-Lentil Stew with Vegetables, too. The meatless chili is a snap to pull together. The beans, zucchini, kale, garlic, and onion just simmer with seasonings: cinnamon, oregano, and cumin. Unsweetened chocolate completes the mole, which develops over days. Same goes for the flavor of the lentil stew, which melds with time. Just omit the spinach, peas, cilantro, and spice oil from initial prep. You can add them in throughout the week, while reheating, on a per-portion basis, to enliven the dish. It’s the best of both worlds: made-ahead fresh.
What’s for favorite make-ahead meal?