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New flavors to spice up your winter menu rotation

Tired of your regular meal rotation? Here at Tavern, we change our menu twice a year to introduce seasonal favorites as well as new flavors. The start of a new season is a great time to make some changes in your own home, too. Our executive chefs offer up a few ideas for updating your current recipes to create hearty, bone-sticking dishes that keep your family warm – and well fed – all winter long.

Winter Menu – Soups

Soup is a great addition to your dinner menu rotation during the colder months. The key to a great soup is a good stock. Here at the Tavern we have stock pots running at least five days a week all winter. We’ll make chicken stock, veal, lobster… any meats we have can be used to make a stock. At home, if you know how to make a roux with butter and flour, you can thicken any liquid to get the consistency you want. Any time a soup recipe calls for water – replace it with stock to add depth.

You probably have a blender, but might not realize that it’s a great tool for making soup. Start by cooking your veggies on the stove. Add your stock and reduce it down a bit. Add cream, and reduce down a second time. Then add all to a blender and mix for a smooth, creamy soup.

Note: You can use store bought stock, just be sure to watch sodium content. Look for low-sodium options.

This winter, Tavern’s West County location starts its rotation of soups with a Parsnip Vichyssoise – a parsnip & leek puree with cream, celery and onions garnished with baby butter poached shrimp, house cured bacon and chives. Yum!

Winter Menu – Pasta

Pasta is a great entrée all year round. In summer, a light olive oil-based sauce is perfect on any type of noodle. There’s no reason to take those dishes out of rotation now that the weather is turning. During the colder months, there are a few quick changes you can make to your pasta recipes to give them that cozy, rib-sticking taste your family wants. Instead of olive oil, switch to a cream base, and add more cheese to create a thicker sauce that sticks to the noodles. At our West County location, we’ve updated our fish sets for winter with sides such as angel hair pasta with lobster carbonara sauce. Delicious!

Winter Menu – Salads

Salads are a summertime meal staple. But they’re still a great way to get your fruits and veggies in over the winter. Simply switch up a few of your ingredients. If your summer salad called for fresh strawberries, try poached pears instead. Substitute candied nuts for those summer herbs. Summer veggies like spinach and asparagus can be replaced with root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and turnips. A light mozzarella or parmesan cheese can be traded in for heartier styles such as blue or goat cheese. And don’t forget to winterize your salad dressing! Replace a light oil and vinegar with a thicker, cream-based dressing.

A few simple changes can make a big difference in the flavor of your prepared dishes, and spice up your winter menu rotation. Need a break from your own kitchen? Come sample some of Tavern’s new winter flavors. Make a reservation at our CWE or West Co. location now!