Match meals to the season
Now that Fall has arrived, one of my fellow chefs asked how I prep and adjust my meal-making when the seasons change. I actually do a lot of things differently in the kitchen when cool weather arrives. Here’s how you can get ready for Fall meals, too.
Since I can’t depend on fresh basics like corn and tomatoes, I transition to ingredients that are a bit more earthy, like potatoes, squash, beets and parsnips. These heartier vegetables are packed with flavor, and more filling and satisfying for cool-weather meals. So there’s a lot you can do with them.
Here’s a list of dishes that I love to make! They are full of my fave Fall ingredients.
- Mashed potatoes and lots of pan gravy with bourbon
- Porcini mushroom bisque
- Chestnut and apple or pumpkin and apple soup
- Braised beef short ribs and beef stew
- Italian sausage, pepper and onion sandwiches
- Creamed spinach
- Chipotle mac and cheese
- Roasted-tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
- Butternut squash with sage brown butter
Swap sandwiches for something warmer
In the coming months, I’ll be replacing salads and sandwiches with warmer, more satisfying dishes. I’ll be switching from hamburgers and chicken to more slow-cooked, braised or oven-roasted options, too.
And don’t think you will have to spend more time cooking, because these dishes often take no more work than “quicker” recipes. You just pop them in the oven and forget about them until dinnertime. To compliment these Fall meals, I suggest serving them with warm, satisfying drinks like mulled cider or hot chocolate.
My Fall favorites
Besides classics like apples, grapes and pears, I like to try more exotic Fall fare.
- Chestnuts – skip the open fire and roast them in a 425-degree oven for 25 minutes. Be sure to prick a hole in the outer shell before roasting to prevent them from exploding in your oven. Try them dried and stuffed with almonds for a sweet and crunchy snack.
- Persimmon – whether eaten fresh like an apple, or dried like a prune, persimmons add a rich, sweet, spicy flavor to your cooking.
- Quince – I like to chop up quince and add it to my applesauce or apple pies to offset the sweetness of these classics.
Spice it up
It’s also good to update your herbs, spices and sauces to reflect the chillier weather. I like to use my jars of cinnamon, coriander, cumin, star anise, nutmeg, sage and thyme to transform fresh fruits into comforting compotes, and swap light sauces for heavier sauces and cream-based gravies.
It might take awhile for me to get used to the colder weather but I can count on Fall meals to make the transition fun… and keep me warm in the kitchen!
What fall meals do you look forward to? Does your family have a favorite fall recipe?