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Recipes that take all day to cook

What do you make when you have all day or all weekend to really make something good? I generally cook things that come together quickly because I don't have a lot of time. But some weekends, we don't have much going on and I want to make something special but I really don't know what to make. I need a killer spaghetti sauce recipe or something that I can really baby all day and have a fantastic meal. What do you make?

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  1. Not necessarily all day, but a good 3-4 hours including prep time....Marcella Hazan's bolognese. Or a braised brisket (mine takes about 4 hours) plus some time for prep.

    1 Reply
    1. re: valerie

      Oh, and when I make things that require a lot of time, I always make a double, or even triple, batch and put some in the freezer to pull out at a later date.

    2. I just made shredded pork with ancho chile sauce; they make a great taco. I cooked it in the slow cooker for about 9 hours but it can be done in a low oven as well.


      1. Posole Rojo is a great pork and hominy stew that can take 1-2 days to make. The great thing about it is that you add fresh garnishes (cabbage, radishes, onions, cilantro, avocado) so you've got the slow-cooked homey taste along with some crispy freshness.

        Here's a recipe I like to use:


        1. Sushi takes me all day. Between the rinsing of the rice, making the rice and all the prep and rolling, it's nearly all day, which is why it rarely gets made. But maybe I'm just slower than others.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JerryMe

            I don't rinse my rice, just make a tiny batch, don't bother with those rolling mats, and only make one kind at a time, so I can usually crank it out in an hour-- but I can see how if you were doing everything properly, making a variety of sushi or cooking for a whole family, it could be quite an ordeal!

            I'd add slow-roasted chicken to the list. I never have time to do it on a weeknight, but every once in a while I'll get the heat just right so it's almost falling apart but still holds together into pieces when I cut it up.

          2. I'll often bake bread -- I do have plenty of ordinary bread recipes that take no time to throw together and can rise while I'm doing something else, but cinnamon rolls, or a bread that starts with a sponge that rises for hours... I'll do that on a lazy day.

            Bolognese is another one. Lemon meringue pie. Big cuts of meat on the bbq. Chili.

            I've never done this myself, too blasted fiddly, but why not molé!

            1. BBQ Brisket....Last time was 14 hours on the pit...A very long day, but the rewards were worth it!!!

              1. For New Years Eve I always try to make something really special and for the last one I made Blanquette De Veau. It was awesome, but it took at least 2-3 hours.

                Making Osso Bucco, braised shortribs, a turkey dinner or bolognese sauce is always a nice way to spend a few hours. Sometimes it isn't just the main dish that takes the time and make it special, with Osso Busso, I always make saffron risotto and a nice veg to go on the side.

                1. Homemade puff pastry. It takes a long time because of the refrigeration between turns. It can also be the basis for a number of of impressive recipes. Beef Wellington, maybe?

                  1. Bolognese sauce- from the Dean and DeLuca Cookbook.My recipe for moussaka takes about 7 hours. Slice, salt, rinse, drain, dry and fry about 8 eggplants; make the meat filling, make the bechamel. Tiring too- not just long cooking time like slow roast pork butt. Also pastitsio takes at least 3-4 hours.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: emilief

                      bake a turkey it takes some time & you can make turkey&noodles the next day,or have turkey sandwiches after that.Bake some cookies make some mashed potatoes to go with,make cornbread to go with too..

                      1. re: ohvikery

                        Julia Child's Beef Burgundy-For me, it's about 6 hours from start to finish. The longest part is browning 4 lbs of stew meat.

                    2. The two recipes that take some time and require some involvement are Hazan's bolognese, and Keller's French onion soup. Have fun, both are worth the time!

                      1. Pasteles, the Puerto Rican version of the tamale, with different localized ingredients than the Mexican version, though, are time-consuming and take all day to assemble, plus the day before for some minor prep, but you have friends over to help and make a pastele party out of it. I only make them at the holidays and put some in the freezer.

                        See what I'm talking about:

                        Other than that, it's bread.

                        1. Unfortunately, Cook's Illustrated considers this a premium recipe and will require you to at least take their free 14 day trial membership. Sunday Gravy... it is a red sauce made with sausage, baby back ribs and meat balls. it is one of those slow cooked red sauces and you serve it over pasta. But it is good.

                          1. I used to make a Mediterranean beef stew that I got from Gourmet magazine. It took several hours to make, it made the house smell wonderful, and I enjoyed it for a few days after - it just kept getting better.

                            And then I developed an allergy to beef.......

                            1. Coq au vin
                              Veal stock
                              BBQ beef brisket
                              Pork shoulder pulled pork

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: runwestierun

                                  Beef or Veal stock will certainly take all day especially if you keep reducing some down to a glace but it would be worth it.

                                  There just isn't a proper substitute for a great beef stock. You can freeze it in 1 cup portions and always have some available.

                                2. I made the chili from Kenny Shopsin's book last week and it was the shit. He uses black coffee and its really brilliant, gives chili a whole different depth(?)/body(?) of taste.

                                  It took all day, but it was mostly cook time.

                                  Because it uses his marinara base also (which has shared ingredients, making prep easy), I doubled the batch and was able to use the other half to make his Tomato & Cream soup some days later, in just a few minutes. The chili of course can be frozen for quick meals down the line. Half way through the week, I used it to make some nachos. Could have done it w/ mac also.. you can really stretch it out.

                                  For a day's super lazy cooking, I got a handful of super fast, really good (and CHEAP) meals. I think I'll do this, or keep some frozen, for when I know a week is gonna be hectic and I just want to come home to a nice super quick comforting meal. If you do this right, you can probably eat a different spin-off of the chili and marinara every day of the week, for under $20 total.

                                  oh duh. p.s. -- try the marinara for your spaghetti sauce. I loved it, but I don't cook or know Italian very well. You can find those recipes looking up the book on Google Books ro Amazon, and tinkering with the view/"look inside" feature.

                                  1. For "passive" time -- a niiiice long braise, or the aforementioned bolognese, although for the last hour of cook time you will be standing there with a spoon trying to avoid eating it all straight out of the pot. If you're anything like me, that is.

                                    In terms of "active" cooking time -- yeah, puff pastry. Bread is good, and you feel so accomplished when it's done.

                                    Other than that, homemade filled pastas are great, impressive, fun, and can be as quick or as time-consuming as you want. You could go really nuts and do, like, cannelloni with homemade pasta filled with, say, crab that you bought live and cooked yourself, maybe with some nice fontina and mushrooms, in a bechamel, topped with homemade mozzarella... Who knows?

                                    Or artichokes. Prepping artichokes seems to me to take all day. ;)

                                    1. I made lasagne completely from scratch one night for a dinner party the next day - it took a good 4 hours before going in the oven, mainly because it was my first time trying something like this. First time making bechamel, first time making pasta, so I ended up taking my time with everything. It got really fiddly close to assembly, but was so satisfying and gratifying to serve the next day. Truly a labour of love, and I can't wait to do it again.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: sgogo

                                        I love to make canneloni when I have all day. I make it with crepes so first you make the crepes, then the filling, then the ragu and last but not least the bechamel. After that you put the dish all together and bake it. It's an all day labor of love but I usually make enough for 2 or 3 pans and freeze two of them.

                                        1. re: HBGigi

                                          Oh, duh! How come I never thought of freezing them? That totally justifies all the work. Thank you. It's sometimes a wonder that I get my socks on before my shoes.