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We all need our favorite comfort foods now and then, and this stormy January is a perfect example. A thick soup, a slow-cooked stew, or a gooey grilled cheese sandwich can sooth the cold inconvenience of power outages, downed trees and floods.

A pot roast is a good response to that feeling of “the sky is falling, and I want my mommy” that can take over even the most resilient among us when the outages and rising waters continue.

With a gas stove, you are usually okay during the storms, as it is rare to have a gas line impacted by a storm. But it does happen, and if you find yourself without gas but with electricity, it may be time to dig out your slow cooker.

If your stove is fueled by electricity, things can be tricky when the power is out. If you live where outages are frequent, you might keep a portable propane-fueled burner on hand so that you can at least make coffee and tea and, perhaps, scrambled eggs.

The worst of the season’s storms may be behind us, but spring is still a ways off and our chilly nights call for comfort foods.

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This is a stove-top version of classic pot roast and the most important element is to cook the meat long enough, so that it is as tender as possible. The pan juices, when reduced a bit, make a delicious gravy that has the added advantage, for many, of being free of gluten.

Red Wine Pot Roast
Serves 4 to 8

1 chuck roast, about 3 pounds
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
1 tablespoon lard or olive oil
1 yellow onion, cut into small dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
1 celery stalk, cut into small dice
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
2 cups full-flavored dry red wine
1 tablespoon butter, optional
— Mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, egg noodles, or steamed rice.

Set the meat on a clean work surface and season it all over with salt and pepper.

Set a large deep sauté pan over high heat, add the lard or olive oil, and, when the pan is very hot, add the meat. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, until one side is nicely browned. Turn the meat over and brown on the other side. You can, if you like, stand the meat on end and sear the sides, as well. Set the browned meat on a plate.

Decrease the heat to medium, add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook about 10 minutes more. Season with salt, add the garlic and bay leaves and return the meat to the pan.

Add the wine and 2 cups of water. When the water boils, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer very gently for about 3 hours, until the meat is fork tender.

Transfer the meat to a plate or wide bowl, return the pan to the heat, increase the heat to high, and reduce the liquid by about one-third to one-half. Taste, correct for salt and pepper, and swirl in the butter, if using.

For a smooth sauce, puree with an immersion blender before adding the butter.

Cut the meat into slices or chunks, pour the sauce over it, and enjoy right away, with potatoes or rice alongside.

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You should feel free to alter this recipe by omitting or adding herbs and spices. Think of it more as a template than a recipe that must be followed to the letter. If you don’t have paprika on hand, for example, don’t worry about it. As long as you season the meat with salt and pepper, sear it well, add a layer of onions, and enough liquid, it will be delicious.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Potato Wedges
Serves 4 to 8

3 pound chuck roast or rump roast
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
1 teaspoon each sweet, smoked, and hot paprika, optional
1 tablespoon lard or olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin rounds
1 large or 2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly washed and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal slices
1 celery stalk, cut into diagonal slices
2 bay leaves
1 small rosemary sprig
1 small thyme sprig
— Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups full-flavored dry red wine
3-4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into lengthwise wedges

Put the meat on a clean work surface and season it all over with salt and pepper. Mix together the paprikas, if using, and sprinkle all over the meat.

Put the lard or olive oil into a heavy pan set over medium heat and when the pan is very hot, brown the meat an all sides.

Meanwhile, plug in your slow cooker; set it on high. Spread the onion over the bottom, add the leeks, followed by the garlic, carrots, and celery. Tuck the bay leaves, rosemary sprig, and thyme sprig here and there and add the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

When the meat is evenly browned, set it on top of vegetables and herbs. Add the wine and 2 cups of water and cook on high for two hours. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 3 hours more or until the meat is fork tender. (If the roasted will be cooking while you are away from home, set the cooker on low and cook for 6 to 7 hours.)

About an hour or so before the meat is done, add potato wedges, nestling them down into the cooking liquid.

To serve, remove the meat from the slow cooker and cut it into chunks or slices. Use tongs to remove the herb sprigs; return the meat to the slow cooker and use pot holders to lift the ceramic pot out of the cooking sleeve.

Serve directly from pot.

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The best macaroni and cheese is rich, custardy, and voluptuous. Here, tomatoes add a tangy element. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the pancetta.

Macaroni & Cheese with Tomatoes, Pancetta and Fontina
Serves 6 to 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 pound ditalini
— Kosher salt
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups canned diced tomatoes, drained
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 pound Italian fontina, shredded
8 ounces taleggio, in small chunks
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
11/2 cups fresh bread crumbs, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet set over medium heat, add the pancetta and fry until it is just barely crisp. Set it aside.

Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions until it is not quite done and still slightly firm at the center. Drain and rinse thoroughly.

In a large bowl, mix together the cream, tomatoes and eggs. Season generously with black pepper. Fold in the cheeses and the drained pasta, add the pancetta and Italian parsley, and pour the mixture into a large (4-quart) baking dish that has been coated with butter or olive oil. Spread the bread crumbs over the top, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Michele Anna Jordan is author of the new “Good Cook’s” series. Email her at michele@micheleannajordan.com and visit her blog at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.