Favorite Fall & Winter Recipes
Aaaah, fall……. with its changing leaves and clear blue skies…… no one doesn’t love fall, including me. But for me, one of the best things about fall is that it means my favorite season is just around the corner. Yes, you read that correctly, winter is my favorite season. I know. But winter = wood fires, knitted throws, hot tea, chunky scarves, brisk walks, wooly socks……. all the cozy things in life and I am here for all of it. When it comes to nourishing ourselves, both seasons call for something warm and hearty and these are my tried and true recipes I rely on every fall and winter. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Curried Cauliflower Soup adapted from the New York Times
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 pounds cauliflower (1 medium head), roughly chopped
2 quarts vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
Crème fraîche or sour cream
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the cauliflower, stock, and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, purée the soup (or you can use a regular blender, working in batches and placing a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splashing) until it is very smooth. Return to the pot, heat through, add freshly ground pepper and adjust salt. Serve, garnishing each bowl with a spoon of crème fraîche or sour cream.
Soupe au Pistou (Provençal vegetable soup with pesto) adapted from David Lebovitz
1 cup dried beans
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced, or 3 leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 pound green beans, tips removed and cut crosswise into quarters
6 cloves of garlic peeled and minced or thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup dried elbow or shell pasta
For the pistou
1 large clove of garlic, peeled
pinch of salt
2 cups gently packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small tomato; peeled, seeded, and diced
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
Rinse and sort the beans. Soak the beans overnight covered in cold water. The next day, drain the beans and put them in a large saucepan with the bay leaves and enough water to cover the beans with about 1 1/2 quarts of water.Cook the beans for about an hour, or until tender, adding more water if necessary to keep them immersed. Once cooked, remove the beans from the heat and set aside.
In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions or leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add the thyme, diced carrots, zucchini, green beans, garlic, and salt. Season with pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely cooked. Add the cooked beans and their liquid, then the peas and pasta, plus 2 quarts water. Bring the soup to a boil, and simmer a few minutes until the pasta is cooked.
While the soup is cooking, make the pistou. Pound the garlic to a paste in a mortar and pestle (or use a food processor) with a generous pinch of salt. Coarsely chop the basil leaves and pound them into the garlic until the mixture is relatively smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, while pounding, then pound in the tomato and cheese. Taste, and season with more salt if desired.
Serve the hot soup into bowls and add a generous spoonful of pistou to the center and swirl gently.
Mushroom Bourgignon adapted from the Smitten Kitchen
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 pounds portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (save the stems for another use) (you can use cremini instead, as well)
1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
Chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute. Add the mushrooms until they begin to darken about 3-4 minutes.
Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.
Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste. Garnish with chives or parsley.
The original recipe serves it over egg noodles but I like to serve it over a French potato purée. (See next recipe.)
French Potato Purée from Laura Calder
2 pounds floury potatoes, scrubbed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, cold
Put the potatoes, whole, in a pot and cover with cold water. Salt the water. Bring to a boil, and simmer until very tender, about 30 minutes, depending on size.
Meanwhile, drop the garlic, bay leaf, and thyme in a saucepan with the milk, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse 10 minutes. Pull out the garlic and herbs, and discard.
When the potatoes are done, drain them and peel while hot. Put them through a food mill set on the smallest setting over a large pot. Beat in the butter a piece at a time. Bring the milk to a boil and beat it in, splash by splash, until completely absorbed. You are looking for a very soft, fine puree, not unlike baby food!
Check the seasonings and serve.
12 ounces thick-cut dry pasta
30 turns freshly ground black pepper, on the coarsest setting, plus more for serving
1 1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a pan just wide enough to hold the pasta, place enough water to fill the pan 1 inch from the bottom. Season the water with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Spread the pasta in the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Allow the pasta water to reduce; do not add more, as you want the starchy water to be minimal when the remaining ingredients are added.
Once the pasta is al dente and the pasta water has reduced so only a slight coating remains at the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and add the cheese and ground black pepper. Stir and toss vigorously until incorporated into the pasta. Toss in the olive oil and season with salt.
Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and garnish with more black pepper, cheese and olive oil.
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots from Bon Appétit
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.
Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.
Tarte Tatin from the New York Times
8 large Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Tarte Tatin pastry (see recipe)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Position rack in bottom third of oven. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Place in a large mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Set aside.
Place the sugar in a 10-inch skillet or tarte Tatin pan over low heat. When some of the sugar begins to melt, begin stirring with a wooden spoon until all the sugar is melted and begins to turn a pale golden color. Remove the pan from the heat. Begin arranging apple pieces in the skillet, rounded side down, in concentric circles, fitting them together as close as possible. Fill the center with 2 or 3 apple pieces, as needed. Arrange the remaining pieces, rounded side up, in concentric circles, filling in the gaps left in the first layer.
Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter over the apples. Place the pan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar turns a deep caramel color and the juices released from the apples are nearly evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Roll the dough and cover the apples according to the directions in the pastry recipe. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes.
Run a small, sharp knife around the edge of the tarte to loosen. Place a large plate or platter over the skillet. Holding the plate and skillet together using 2 kitchen towels, carefully but quickly invert the tarte onto the plate. Let stand a few minutes to cool slightly. Cut into wedges and serve with creme fraiche if desired.
For the pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling dough
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
To make the pastry, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter. Rub the flour and butter together between your fingers until most of the butter is incorporated and only pea-size pieces remain. Whisk together the egg yolk and water. Add to the flour mixture and stir until dough begins to come together. Use your hands to gently press the dough into a ball. Refrigerate until firm but not hard, about 30 minutes (if making ahead, let dough stand at room temperature until pliable but still cold). Do not roll out until just before the tarte Tatin’s fruit is finished cooking.
To roll out the pastry, flour a work surface and a rolling pin well. Divide the dough in half (freeze the remaining dough if not needed). Pat the dough into a flat disk with your hands. Roll the dough into a circle that is almost 1/4 inch thick, flouring the surface under the dough and the rolling pin frequently to prevent sticking. Carefully place the pastry round over the fruit in the skillet (see Tarte Tatin recipes). Trim the dough to 1/2 inch larger than the skillet. Tuck the overhanging dough in around the fruit.
[Art: Pies, Pies, Pies, Wayne Thiebaud, 1961]