Hearty winter fare Nothing beats mid-winter blahs and blues like stews, so take a cue from Jenna Holst; she's put together 200 recipes for these earthy, delicious dishes and good things to serve with them in Stews. Slow-simmered, fragrant, comforting, stews that can be made ahead and reheated can turn casual week-night meals into super suppers and make dinner parties a delight. Menu planning with these one-pot wonders is easy often all you have to do is add a loaf of crusty bread and a simple salad and you're dining rather than just eating. But, just in case you have any combo quandaries, Ms. Holst follows each recipe with serving suggestions: Biscuits Any Which Way and Herbed Vegetable Slaw accompany Dijon Tarragon Chicken. Amidst the slews of stews made with meat and poultry are some more unusual versions made with venison and duck, and there are entire sections devoted to fish and seafood, vegetables, legumes, and interestingly enough, fruit. Stew accompaniments get their own chapter, too. Ms. Holst offers clear cooking directions and handy advice on advance prep and storing. I was most intrigued by the eclectic ethnic array of the stews themselves, especially those with South African Cape Malay origins. So, don't get into a stew, make one.

Sybil Pratt is an avid cook.

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