Shorter days and colder nights mean winter is on its way.  And that means warm, cozy comfort foods often come to mind like soups, mac-n-cheese, and pot pies.  Now, think of those same foods . . . on the grill.  Thanks to our friends at Traeger Grills and Big Green Egg, grilling takes on new meaning to include some of our favorite wintertime comfort foods.  So, don’t put away that grill just yet . . . or not at all as the recipes below are sure to warm your belly and your soul.

Traeger Recipe:  White Bean & Ham Soup

That’s right – what better way to warm the soul than with a delicious white bean and ham soup – and all made on the grill!  While the prep time is quick and easy, the cook time takes a bit longer, but is well worth the wait.

Photo courtesy of Traeger Grills

What You’ll Need / Ingredients:

  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 bouillon cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 bunch sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 cans (15 oz) Great Northern or Navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans (15 oz) Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup diced ham, optional
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

First, set your grill to 325 degrees and preheat with the lid closed.  This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.  While your grill is preheating, you can dice the onions, mince the garlic, peel and dice the carrots, and dice up the celery.

When the grill is ready, heat oil in a large dutch oven.  Add onion, celery, and garlic.  Cook on the grill, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the chicken broth, water, bouillon, ham bone, bay leaves, thyme, sage, and Chinese 5 Spice to dutch oven.  Cover dutch oven with lid.  Close grill lid and turn heat up to High.

Once broth starts simmering, turn the heat back to 325 degrees and let simmer with the lid on the pot, for 1 hour.

Add in carrots and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Add in 3 of the cans of drained beans and additional diced ham.  Cook for 5 to 10 more minutes.

Take soup off the grill and remove the ham bone.  Allow ham bone to cool before stripping it of the meat.

While the ham bone is cooling, take the last can of drained beans and blend it along with 1 to 2 cups of the soup broth.  For a creamier soup, blend more of the beans.

Take out the bay leaves, thyme sprigs and sage leaves, and add in the blended beans.

Serve and enjoy!

This recipe is a modified version of the original recipe, courtesy of Traeger Grills.

Traeger Recipe:  Smoky Triplemac N’ Cheese

Nothing speaks hometown America to warm the belly and soul more than good ol’ Mac n’ Cheese – this one with more cheese, no less.  Of course, our friends at Traeger wouldn’t create ordinary Mac –  it’s smoked and flavored by wood pellet fuel for a break-the-bank flavor.  Try this on your family and the house will always win.

What You’ll Need / Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups, (more if needed) Half and Half or Whole Milk
  • 1 qty 8 oz. package cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 4 tbsp chilled butter
  • 1 tsp dry mustard, such as Colman’s
  • 1 tsp hot sauce, or more to taste (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 16 oz corkscrew-shaped pasta or elbow macaroni
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded smoked mozzarella or Gouda
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs, preferably Panko
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • Smoked paprika for serving

Directions:

First, set your grill to 225 degrees and preheat with the lid closed.  This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

While your grill is preheating, you can make the mac n’ cheese sauce:

Combine the half and half, cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of chilled butter, dry mustard, hot sauce –  if using, and black pepper in a large (12-inch), well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

Place the skillet on the grill grate, uncovered, and smoke the mixture for 30 minutes.  Remove the sauce from the grill and whisk until fairly smooth.  Increase grill temperature to 350 degrees.

While the sauce smokes, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stovetop.  Cook the pasta 1 to 2 minutes less than the package directions call for; the pasta will continue to cook on the grill.

Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and return to the pot.  Toss the cooled pasta with the shredded cheeses.  Pour the smoked sauce over the pasta and cheese, stirring gently with a rubber spatula.

Rinse out the cast iron skillet and dry thoroughly.  Tip the macaroni and cheese into the clean skillet or a buttered 3-quart baking / casserole dish, smoothing the top.  Sprinkle evenly with the breadcrumb mixture. Place on the grill grate.

Bake the mac n’ cheese until it is bubbling and the top is lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes.

Dust lightly with the paprika.  Carefully transfer the skillet to a trivet or hot pad before serving.

Serve and enjoy! YUM!!

This recipe is a modified version of the original recipe, courtesy of Traeger Grills.

Big Green Egg Recipe:  Turkey & Wild Mushroom Pot Pie

There’s nothing better than a pot pie on a cold winter night.  Loaded with juicy, tender pieces of roasted turkey breast and wild mushrooms, this pie, from Big Green Egg, is the ultimate comfort food.

What You’ll Need / Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups mixed, dried wild mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 cups chopped roasted turkey breast
  • 1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie shell and 1 pie dough disk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp water

Directions:

Set your Big Green Egg grill for direct cooking without the convEGGtor at 375ºF.  Place a Dutch Oven on the grid to preheat for 10 minutes.

While the grill is preheating, cover the mushrooms with hot water and let rehydrate until needed.

Heat butter and olive oil in the dutch oven.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery.  Close the lid of the EGG and cook uncovered for 5 to 6 minutes, until the vegetables are light brown and softened.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute, then add the flour and stir.  Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes.

Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid.  Add chicken stock and the reserved mushroom liquid to the dutch oven and stir well.  Add the potatoes.  Close the lid of the EGG and continue cooking, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.  Add the reserved mushrooms, thyme, peas, and turkey; stir together and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.  Remove the dutch oven from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

Using a grill gripper and barbecue mitts, carefully remove the grid and add the convEGGtor. Replace the grid and raise the EGG temperature to 400ºF.

Spoon the filling into the pie shell.  Roll out the pie dough disk on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to cover the top of the pie.  Unroll the pie dough onto the pie.  Press the top and bottom edges of the dough together and crimp.  Using a knife, cut four small slits on the top of the crust.  Beat egg with the water and brush the top with the egg wash.

Place the pie on top of the grid and close the lid of the EGG.  Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dough is light brown and the filling is hot and bubbling.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6.

This recipe is a modified version of the original recipe, courtesy of Big Green Egg.

NOTE:  Use of a Big Green Egg Grill is not required to make this recipe.  These steps can be followed for any outdoor grill.