Ultimate Winter Comfort Foods

Sheila Lukins, noted co-author of the "Silver Palate" line of cookbooks, is just out with a book called "Ten: All the Foods We Love and 10 Perfect Recipes for Each."

In it, she explores ten favorites with ten perfect recipes for each of them. The faves include burgers, pastas, soups, and more.

Lukins stopped by The Early Show Tuesday, and since winter is in full force, what better to ask her to prepare than comfort foods for the season? And what's better for that than soups and stews? They're hearty, hot and chock full of almost anything you want!

To see an excerpt of "Ten," click here.


Chickpea Stew

Serves 3

We're accustomed to using chickpeas as an ingredient in North African and Hispanic dishes, but here, they're the feature attraction. Canned chickpeas have great integrity and are readily available; it's not necessary to cook dried chickpeas for this recipe. A dab of honey mellows the ingredients of this robust stew and pulls the flavors together.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cans (each 15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
4 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1-3/4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade (see page 434)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
About 1-1/3 cups couscous (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is almost completely wilted, 8 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook to mellow the flavors, 2 minutes.
2. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes with their juices, thyme, honey, lemon juice, broth, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface. Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the package directions (you'll want about 4 cups cooked). Keep warm.
4. Taste the chickpea stew and adjust the seasonings as needed. Remove the thyme sprigs if using, and stir in the parsley. Spoon the couscous into four shallow bowls, top with chickpea stew, and serve immediately.

Minty Lamb Kebabs

Serves 8

For the mint sauce (makes 1 cup):
1 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup boiling water
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the kebabs:
4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1½ -inch cubes
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1½ -inch pieces
2 orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1½ -inch pieces
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for the grill

1. Prepare the mint sauce: Place the chopped mint in a small bowl, and pour the vinegar over it. In another small bowl, dissolve the brown sugar and the salt in the boiling water; add this to the mint mixture. Stir in the black pepper. Set the bowl aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.
2. Place the lamb and the bell peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle the brown sugar over them, and toss lightly. Add the oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss to coat the meat well. Pour the mint sauce over the meat and peppers, and stir. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 2 hours at room temperature.
3. Preheat a barbecue grill to high.
4. Thread eight metal skewers with the lamb and peppers, alternating the two and leaving a small space between them.
5. Oil the grill grate well, and arrange the skewers on it. Grill for 4 minutes per side for rare to medium-rare meat. Let the skewers rest off the heat for 5 minutes before serving.
6. Arrange the skewers on a platter, garnish it with the mint.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.