Winter warming recipes

As the temperature drops and nights well and truly draw in, there’s nothing better than snuggling down on the sofa with a blanket, hot chocolate in hand, candles flickering and your favourite film on TV. Craving something equally warm and comforting in our bellies too, here’s our selection of winter warming recipes:

Shepherd’s Pie

Served on its own or with steamed winter vegetables such as savoy cabbage and lashings of gravy, Shepherd’s Pie is an ESPA family favourite and easy Sunday afternoon must.

Taking 15 minutes to prepare and 40 minutes to cook, this quick and easy recipe gives you plenty of time to sit back and relax with your family.


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 180ml water
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 750g lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp flour


  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into four
  • 60ml of milk (hot)
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 100g cheese (cheddar) grated


In a heavy pan heat the olive oil till hot. Add the mince, onion, garlic and carrot and stir until the mince is well browned.

Stir in water, Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce and beef stock cube, and bring the mixture to the boil.

Simmer uncovered for a few minutes and then stir in the flour. If the mixture looks too dry, add a little extra water to the mixture. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes or until very tender.


Spoon the mince mixture into a casserole dish.

While the mixture cools slightly, in a small saucepan, over a low heat mix your butter and milk until the butter is melted.

Using a potato masher or electric beater, slowly blend milk and chicken stock cube into your potatoes until smooth and creamy.

Spread the mashed potato over the mince mixture and top with cheese.

Place in oven until golden and serve immediately.

Mulligatawny Chicken Soup

Comfort food for a cold, dark midweek evening with enough leftovers for lunch the next day, this recipe takes 15 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook – and is served best with a warm piece of crusty bread and a dollop of natural yoghurt (to add a little crunch, you can even add a crushed poppadom) .


  • 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 white potatoes, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 litres hot chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Madras curry paste
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • 100g natural yoghurt plus extra to serve
  • Coriander, roughly chopped to serve


Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion and chicken for 5 minutes until the onion has softened.

Stir in the celery, carrots, potatoes and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes – stirring frequently until tomatoes appear as a pulp.

Stir in the stock and curry paste, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through (with no pink meat).

Remove the pan from the heat.

Ladle half the soup into a jug and add the chutney and yogurt. Using a handheld blender, blend the soup in the jug until coarsely pureed and add back to the pan.

Ladle into bowls and top with a spoonful of yogurt and a pinch of coriander.

Beef & Mushroom Casserole

The perfect recipe for the weekend or when you have a little more time, Beef & Mushroom Casserole is the ultimate in winter warming food! Comforting through and through, and designed to make you smile, this recipe takes 15 minutes to prepare and 2 hours to cook.


  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 400g diced beef or braising steak (or both)
  • 550g mixed prepacked casserole vegetables
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 red chillies, halved lengthways
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 100g jar tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
  • 400ml hot beef stock
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • Coriander leaves and cooked rice to serve


Preheat your oven to 200°C or gas mark 6. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole dish over a large flame. Cook your beef for 5 minutes or until nicely browned and transfer to a plate. Add vegetables to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, chilli and ginger and cook for a further minute.

Return your beef to the pan along with any resting juices and stir in the tamarind paste, soy sauce, sugar and stock.

Bring to a simmer, cover then transfer to the oven to cook for 1½ hours.

Remove from oven and stir in the mushrooms. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the beef and vegetables are very tender.

Serve with rice and a sprinkling of coriander leaves.

Caro Dooling

Caro Dooling

Writer and expert

Caro is currently loving...