There's nothing like a day out on the slopes to make you hungry. Make that famished.
But let's face it. While most of the food you'll find at local ski lodges -- pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and pizza -- is hearty, it's laden with fat and more expensive than it should be. And little of it is really that tasty.
Snowshoe in West Virginia has a better choice of restaurants in its ski village, but they're usually packed at the end of the day and the waits are long.
When two families and mine stayed at Snowshoe over a long weekend two years ago, we brought two crock pots. Two versions of chili simmered throughout the day as we hit the slopes, and it was a great feeling to have dinner waiting for us when we walked into the door.
That idea is included in a new book, "The Ski House Cookbook" ($30, Potter), which offers several slow-cooking recipes and other warm winter dishes for cold weather fun.
Authors Tina Anderson and Sarah Pinneo, who grew up in western Michigan, chose slow-cooking recipes that didn't require the meat to be browned beforehand.
"We don't want to stand in the kitchen scrubbing a skillet while everyone else is zipping up their jackets and hitting the slopes," they explained.
They rate the difficulty of their recipes as ski resorts do with slopes: green circle for easiest, blue square for moderately difficult, black diamond for experts only.
BRISKET WITH SWEET MUSTARD SAUCE
This preparation, with its slightly sweetened mustard sauce, goes over well with the whole crowd. The brown sugar caramelizes so the brisket develops a rich brown color as it cooks. This is rated an easy recipe.
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 4 to 5 pounds brisket in 2 or 3 pieces, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cornstarch
The night before serving the brisket, combine the mustard, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Alternatively, mince the garlic finely by hand and whisk the ingredients together.
Peel the onions and cut each into 8 wedges. Scatter them over the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Rub the mustard mixture all over the beef and set over the onions.
Cover the pot and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the fridge, pour in the broth, and slow cook on the low setting for 7 to 7 1/2 hours.
Transfer the meat from the pot to a cutting board. Remove the onions and 1 to 2 cups cooking liquid to a blender. Puree with 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch per cup of cooking liquid. Slice the brisket thinly against the grain and transfer to a platter. Drizzle the sauce over the meat and serve in sandwich rolls or with potatoes.
Serves 6 to 8.
-- The Ski House Cookbook
WHITE CHICKEN CHILI
This is just as hearty and satisfying as a red chili, and the flavors are just a little brighter.
- 1 pound dried white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, rinsed and picked over.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans chopped green chilis
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Shredded Monterey Jack
- Lime wedges
Cover the beans with cool water and soak overnight. Alternatively, place the beans in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and let sit off the heat for 1 hour.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and chilies and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil.
Drain the beans and add to the pot. Lower the heat so the broth simmers and add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken, and then return it to the pot. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the beans are tender.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with cilantro, cheese and lime wedges for squeezing on top.
Serves 4 to 6.
-- The Ski House Cookbook