Fall is the time when we feel we can get back to spending some time cooking. Luckily, the cooler weather also brings a whole new group of seasonal produce to cook with, from apples and pears to hearty greens, root vegetables and squash. Make the most of what you find at the markets this autumn and try some new recipes to get you excited again about cooking.
Nothing says autumn more than a sweet tart apple. Apples can be used in dishes that are both sweet and savory. From stuffed turkey and pork to salads to applesauce and apple pie.
Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples
Serve with a spinach salad.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups thinly sliced, peeled or unpeeled apples
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup apple cider or white wine
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Cut pork tenderloin into 8 slices and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
Combine the spice ingredients and sprinkle the mixture evenly over all sides of the pork slices. Let rest for about 10 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Add the pork slices to the pan; cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove pork from the pan to a platter and keep warm. If all the pork does not fit in the pan at one time, you will need to brown the pork in two batches.
Melt the remaining butter in the pan; swirl to coat. Add the apple slices, shallots, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt; sauté 4 minutes or until the apples start to brown. Add apple cider or wine to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until the apples are crisp-tender. Stir in thyme leaves. Serve.
Pears are great for adding a touch of sweetness to savory dishes. Try serving a roasted pork roast or leg of lamb with caramelized pears. Not only does it add flavor, but the enzymes in the pears actually tenderize the meat.
Roasted Pears and Red Onions
Excellent as a side dish for roasted pork or turkey.
- 4 semi-ripe medium pears, quartered and cored
- 1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 sprigs rosemary, plus extra leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, toss pears and onion with butter and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange pears and onion in a single layer (they should fit snugly in the dish) and top with rosemary.
Cover dish tightly with foil and bake until the pears begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the pears are golden brown on the bottom and tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes more. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary leaves before serving.
Hard-skinned squash varieties are usually yellow to deep-orange, with a flesh that turns creamy and sweet when cooked. Out of the hundreds of varieties, each has its own unique flavor and ideal uses. Dark green and orange-skinned acorn squash has a tender golden interior that makes a sweet, creamy purée; butternut squash makes a great filling for pasta; delicata, with its thin, edible skin, is delicious sliced and sautéed in a little butter and roasted spaghetti squash has a light flavor and texture that’s perfect topped with pesto.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 medium acorn squashes (about 2 pounds), halved and seeded
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef or turkey
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup bulgur wheat
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash halves, cut sides down, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
Heat oil in a 4-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl using a slotted spoon, keeping as much cooking liquid in the pot as possible.
Add onion and cook until slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining salt and the bulgur and stir to combine. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and stir in the reserved beef, the raisins, parsley and pine nuts.
Scrape out the baked squashes, forming 1/4-inch-thick bowls and fold flesh into the bulgur mixture. Divide mixture among squash halves and return to the oven. Bake until warmed through and tops are browned, 12 to 14 minutes.
Parsnips and Carrots
Carrots and parsnips are earthy root vegetables. They’re especially good for roasting, but they also have a place in salads and soups. While similar in taste parsnips are sweeter than carrots, especially when roasted. Heirloom carrots come in a rainbow of colors, from white to yellow to purple. They are delicious grated raw with a honey dressing, roasted with orange zest and maple syrup or shredded and baked into cakes and breads.
Root Vegetable Gratin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick half moons
- 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick half moons
- 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pound red potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch-thick half moons
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and cayenne.
In another bowl, combine cheese and garlic.
Layer half the butternut squash in the baking dish; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon seasoning mix and 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Layer parsnips and carrots over the squash and season with 1/2 teaspoon seasoning mix and 1/2 cup cheese, followed by the onion and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning mix and 1/2 cup cheese. Top with potatoes, remaining butternut squash and seasoning mix.
Pour chicken broth over top. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
Combine panko and olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over vegetables. Broil 45 seconds or until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Fennel seed is perhaps best known for its licorice-scented seeds, used to flavor Italian sausage. But the crunchy vegetable bulb itself has a delicious, delicate anise flavor and the feathery fronds add flavor to salads and soups. It is delicious roasted and blends well with root vegetables and potatoes.
Italian Crab and Fennel Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 large bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups fish or chicken stock
- 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
- 2 lbs. pre-cooked king or snow crab legs, defrosted if frozen and cut into 3″ pieces
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil
- 2 bunches roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
- Italian Country bread, for serving
Heat oil in an 8 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, celery, shallots, fennel, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, 1–2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, thyme, paprika and bay leaves; cook, stirring, until slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes.
Add stock and tomatoes; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, 15–20 minutes.
Stir in crab; cook until shells are bright red and the crab meat is tender, 2–3 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Stir in basil and parsley and serve with the bread.