Dinner sorted: Five hearty meals for the heart of winter

The last couple of weeks of July are not the time for light, delicate dinners. This is the deepest, darkest part of winter, when the days don’t feel any longer yet and it seems like we may never again see a truly clear sky.

It’s dark when I start work, dark when I finish, and gray in between, and I want my dinner to be rich, hearty, and satisfying.

It’s hard to imagine now, but just a couple of months you won’t feel like eating goulash, or risotto, or a rich blue cheese gratin. Indulge in them now while you still do with these five dinners that will brighten up your family’s winter days.

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Blue cheese cauliflower gratin

Blue Cheese Cauliflower Gratin.

Maite Paternain / NZ House & Garden

Blue Cheese Cauliflower Gratin.

Get the recipe here

Take this dish to another level by adding an intensely flavored blue cheese such as roquefort or stilton. An easy and satisfying midweek meal.

Matar paneer (Indian cheese with peas)

Matar paneer (Indian cheese with peas)

Aaron McLean

Matar paneer (Indian cheese with peas)

Get the recipe here

This fresh-flavored vegetarian dish is excellent as part of an Indian-style communal buffet.

Beef goulash with herby dumplings recipe

Beef cheek is best for a low, slow roast and the end result will be meltingly good.

Sam Mannering

Beef cheek is best for a low, slow roast and the end result will be meltingly good.

Get the recipe here

Goulash is almost onomatopoeic; a promise of rich, warming heartiness. Who knows, with this dish your winter might not seem as ghoulish as before!

Mustard chicken with portobello, spinach & parmesan risotto

Mustard Chicken with Portobello, Spinach and Parmesan Risotto.

My food bag

Mustard Chicken with Portobello, Spinach and Parmesan Risotto.

Get the recipe here

This recipe uses red wine, common in risottos across Northern Italy, but will work just as well with white wine or stock. A breadcrumbs, or ” grated bread ” topping adds texture.

Mozarabe spiced butterflied leg of lamb

The roast potato is given a fresh, flavor update.

AARON MCLEAN

The roast potato is given a fresh, flavor update.

Get the recipe here

This is a delicious platter dish that’s good accompanied by potatoes, rice or couscous. It’s also a great way to cook a leg of lamb very quickly. Ideally, begin the recipe the day before, to allow time to marinate the lamb.

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