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Lifestyle

December 27, 2013

ENTER THE COMFORT ZONE

Warm winter meals begin with potatoes

With the thick of winter upon us, hearty dishes that satisfy appetites and comfort food cravings are in high demand.

Fresh produce is harder to come by this time of year. Potatoes, however, are not. From russets to reds, fingerlings to purples, the hearty potato comes in many beautiful varieties that add color and texture to comfort dishes.

Beyond their appearance in some of the most beloved meals, potatoes also boast many benefits to your diet.

First, they’re a great source of potassium, which may help lower high blood pressure, making them a heart-healthy choice. In fact, potatoes contain more potassium than a banana or spinach.

Also, a spud a day may keep the cold germs away. One medium-sized potato has nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin B6. Potatoes are a source of dietary fiber, too, a complex carbohydrate which is known to increase satiety and help with weight loss.

As if all of that isn’t enough, potatoes are a naturally gluten-free food, so those with gluten sensitivity can enjoy this flavorful vegetable.

Here are some recipes to try and wine pairing to enhance their flavors.

Country Stew

Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, California

Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

5 pounds bone-in short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups water

11/3 cups Renwood Zinfandel

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 beef bouillon cubes

6 large Wisconsin potatoes, washed, peeled and quartered

1/2 pound small fresh mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

1 package (10 ounces) frozen whole green beans

1 can (16 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes, undrained

INSTRUCTIONS

Dredge ribs in flour to coat; reserve leftover flour. Heat oil in 8-quart Dutch oven on moderate heat. Add half of ribs and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove ribs. Repeat instructions for remaining ribs. Stir in the reserved flour. While stirring, add 1 cup water and wine and stir until thickened. Return ribs to the pan. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and bouillon and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat to simmer for about 1 hour, or until ribs are tender.

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