Last summer, I found myself turning to Emeril’s “Farm to Fork” cookbook again and again for inspiration. His Tomato, Zucchini and Leek Galette was a regular on my table, and I have high praise for Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp, Roasted Garlic Soup and Butternut Squash soup — all from the book.

 

When I found out that Emeril Lagasse was going to signing his latest cookbook, “Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders,” at a local kitchen store, I put out an email to my local food blogging friends. Who wants to go? Allie from All I Eat Food (pictured at left) took me up on the offer, and we found ourselves in line a couple of weeks ago, books in hand, waiting to meet Emeril himself.

 

I was hoping that Emeril’s next cookbook would be as useful in the colder months as “Farm to Fork” had been over the summer. “Sizzling Skillets” has met my expectations. It includes more than 130 recipes that are the definition of comfort food — warm, satisfying and perfect for chilly weather.

 

If all of the recipes are as good as the Red Beans and Rice Soup that I made yesterday, I’ll be making good use of this cookbook in the upcoming months. The prep for the soup took a while — lots of chopping of fresh vegetables, but it was worth the time and effort. The recipe filled an entire six-quart slow cooker, and we’ll get at least three dinners from yesterday’s work.

 

Comments from my family last night ranged from “this is really tasty,” to “I didn’t think I’d like this but I do.” (That’s what happens when you have kids and you make something different than the norm — they think they won’t like it.) The soup, made with chorizo, was spicy, full of flavor and hearty. All we needed was some crusty bread for sopping up the juices, and we had a satisfying dinner.

 

I chose the Red Beans and Rice Soup (pictured at right) as my first recipe from the book because all of the vegetables found in it are still available at my farmers market — the celery, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and garlic were all local.

 

There are several other recipes that I have marked to try sometime soon.

 

  • Skillet Strata (oven-proof skillet)
  • Baked Cavatappi with Chicken in a Pesto Cream Sauce (baking dish)
  • Leek and Bacon Quiche in a Potato Crust (springform pan)
  • Mushroom and Fall Squash Barley Risotto (slow cooker)
  • Pork Loin with Dried Fruit and Orange-Cider Sauce (slow cooker)
 

As MNN’s lifestyle blogger Siel noted when she reviewed “Farm to Fork,” Emeril’s recipes tend to be meat-heavy. There are a handful of vegetarian dishes in here. Some of the recipes, like the Baked Cavatappi with Chicken in a Pesto Cream Sauce, have instructions for omitting the meat, but this isn’t the cookbook to buy if you’re looking for lots of meatless recipes.

 

If you’re looking for satisfying, chilly-weather comfort food for those nights when you do include meat on the table, “Sizzling Skillets” delivers. 

 

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