Here’s one reason to celebrate the cold: It’s officially Crock-Pot season. ’Tis the time of year for decadent pastas, creamy soups, hearty stews, and spicy curries. ’Tis also the time of year to take said comfort food and curl up with it on the sofa with your favorite movie or gather around the table with your nearest and dearest—we get it, and so do our favorite foodies. We tapped them to share the story behind their favorite slow-cooker recipes. And, it goes without saying, the how-to; get your shopping lists ready, because you’ll want to make every single dish.
Karen Mordechai, Sunday Suppers
The backstory: “Since moving to California, we now have an abundance of fruit trees in our backyard that yield lemons, grapefruit, and oranges. This is a dish we love to make in the colder months; adding that element of stewed citrus is a great way to get the vitamin C we all crave in chilly weather. It’s also perfect for a crowd on holiday mornings—it’s simple, nourishing, and doesn’t require much prep.”
Pro tip: “The fruit can be substituted for any seasonal ones: grapefruit, berries, pears, etc. The grains can also be interchanged—these two happen to require similar cooking time, so they pair well.”
Dress it up: Serve in a big shallow bowl with a chic ladle.
Molly Yeh, My Name Is Yeh
The backstory: “Anytime I make it, it reminds me of our honeymoon in the Alps. We’d have it to warm up after long days of exploring. It came with a gigantic bread dumpling (knödel) in the middle. I bought a bunch of cookbooks in Salzburg to help me create this recipe, and after we got back, my husband, Nick, and I made it for his parents while we showed them pictures, so we re-created the experience in a way.”
Pro Tip: “The goulash is even better the next day, and knödel is a great way to use up stale bread.”
Dress it up: Go for color contrast with citron napkins and turquoise bowls.
The backstory: “I first tasted pumpkin ravioli when living in New York, and it quickly became a staple in our household. Each week, I’d head over to the specialty grocery store to purchase a package of the fresh pasta to share with my husband. A couple of seasons ago, I decided to make my family ragù for dinner and the memory of pumpkin ravioli returned—I knew the ingredients would work perfectly, and my family agreed. My children ask me to make this dish every single night.”
Pro tip: “It’s best served over any kind of wide pasta, such as pappardelle, but you can easily change it up with a healthier base like mashed cauliflower or any spiralized vegetable. This isn’t a traditional ragù, so if you want to elevate your sauce, add a sofrito (chopped celery and onions) and red wine.”
Dress it up: Dole it out family-style, in a large bowl with vintage-inspired servingware.
Gaby Dalkin, What’s Gaby Cooking
The backstory: “These are a game day go-to for us. I can put everything in the Crock-Pot the night before, so by the time my friends arrive the next day, all I have to do is grab the tortillas and arrange a salsa bar. They double as leftovers—if you’re lucky to have any left.”
Pro tip: “Add a bowl of guacamole, make a fruit-based salsa…you name it! They are also great as sliders or burgers if you want to forgo the tortillas for brioche buns.”
Dress it up: A sunny yellow table runner will spice up even a coffee table; the pink platter does the rest.
Natalie Mortimer, The Modern Proper
The backstory: “Whenever I make this recipe, my kids get so excited. We prepare it on Friday nights in the fall and winter, when they’re usually expecting takeout and a movie. This dish is every bit as good and requires just as little effort! Rich and decadent, it’s also company-worthy.”
Pro tip: “Be sure to cook up some basmati rice to serve with it, and top with a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro.”
Dress it up: Dish out the rice fresh from a donabe cooker.
See more cold-weather recipes to bookmark:
These 3 Nonna-Approved Pasta Dishes Are As Comforting As It Gets
This Apple-Vanilla Pound Cake Is a Chef’s Weekend Brunch Staple
What Chefs Make When They’re Too Tired to Cook