Pheasant Confit for a Wintry Gathering

I find so often with the slow, intentional labors of love, the pieces start to fall into place and exceed even my obsessive planning. This gathering centered around a bird. Beyond the decision to confit a bird (a first for me), I felt a different sort of reverence for this bird. I didn't just pick up a plasticized cut of meat from the neon-lit cooler. Our friend waited in the cold (this is one part of hunting I do not understand), hunted this bird, plucked its painterly feathers and [mostly] cleaned it (Josh, you could have been a bit more thorough, but we'll allow it). We foraged winter branches, berries and greens from our dog's happy place, which became a centerpiece backdrop for the pheasant feathers. We set the table, dimmed the lights, and the dining room felt pleasantly small and cozy as it brimmed with friends new and old and laughter.

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My Award-Winning Chili & A Chili Cook Off

Every year, the Rustbelt Farmer's family throws a chili cook off for Mama Pattison's birthday. My award-winning chili entry is an in-depth recipe, to say the least, but go big or go home, right? Next year, I'm throwing two jars of salsa and a chicken in a crockpot and calling it done. So here you have it... quite possibly the only chili recipe you'll ever find on this blog. Where do you stand? Are you pro chili? Do you have any award-winning chili secrets?

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Boeuf Bourguignon: A Comforting Winter Stew

The best part of investing the time and effort (which is really less than you think) in this Boeuf Bourguignon recipe is it keeps on feeding you. From our fancy New Year's Eve table, to watching Fargo on New Year's Day (it felt appropriately cold outside to revisit that classic film) and a few days after that, we had warm bowls of comforting stew to nourish us and torture the dog with its aroma (poor baby, but no wine broth for her).

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Spicy Pepper Roasted Chicken Tacos with Hearth Roasted Potatoes

When we escaped to the cabin in the woods, my goal was to cook for the sake of cooking, to enjoy the process and to revel in slow meals. Since the cabin kitchen was on the smaller side, and since our plan was to sequester ourselves in coziness, I had to be more intentional, more prudent. Each ingredient needed to flow from one meal to the next. Tacos are a great decoy for leftovers.

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