This French Comfort Food Will Soothe Your Soul All Winter

Head to Port Chester’s Appetit Bistro for smooth fondue and a heartwarming dish of duck cassoulet.

With just about two weeks until the official start of winter, we’re finally ensconced in comfort-food season (that’s a thing, right?). At Appetit Bistro in Port Chester, winter signals an uptick in all the rich, French dishes — wine-based stews, buttery desserts, and so much cheese — that make the cuisine so famous.

Share a cast-iron dish of cassoulet, an earthy stew of white beans, nestled with bits of applewood-smoked bacon, chunks of tender lamb, slices of pork sausage, falling-apart-tender duck confit. “Cassoulet is a typical dish of the Languedoc region,” says Chef Edi Rivera. “[We] reintroduce it to the menu around December of every year because it is a heavy and hearty stew.” Also on the winter menu: supple braised veal shank over saffron risotto, coq au vin with knobby spaetzle, and classic beef Bourguignon with carrots and potatoes.

Do you fondue? 

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But the comfort-food pièce de résistance — a bubbling pot of fondue — is actually available year round. “Due to the fact that it is hard to find [in Westchester], we have kept it on our menu from the very beginning,” says Rivera. “It is a great item for families and friends to share.” Rivera starts by simmering white wine, brandy, cornstarch, and a pinch of nutmeg. Next, he whisks in handfuls of Swiss and Parmesan cheeses until the entire pot is smooth and rich with a mild nuttiness. It’s served with cubes of bread, chopped fingerling potatoes, and addictive lardons of applewood-smoked bacon. As Rivera puts it: “Can’t go wrong with that.”

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