5 Hearty Fall Dishes to Warm the Heart and Delight the Belly
The starting of fall conjures up thoughts of chilly afternoons, autumn colors, spices, and hearty dishes. I love it when we move into fall and hearty braised, stewed, roasted and baked delights fill the air. Spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cloves,and the like are Fall staples. Braises, stews, and casseroles are great party menu ideas. They can be made ahead (and taste better!), frozen, and reheated for presentation.
You can braise or stew almost anything. You can cook it low and slow in liquid (stock, wine, beer, or water) with your favorite spices and there you go.
When entertaining in the fall and winter, think about making dishes that almost cooks itself. Here are 5 Favorites that will warm the heart and delight the belly.
Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon, comes to mind right away. A classic braised beef in a red wine bath. Julia's recipe can take some time, but it's quintessential french peasant food. It takes skill to take an undesirable piece of meat and make it unbelievably tasty. I have the recipe below if you want to give it a shot. Believe me, you and everyone at your table will adore it. Beyond Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon, there's so much more you can do.
Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon
Recipe Courtesy of Julia Child
From the Kitchen of Julia Child
Cook Time: Over 120 min
This recipe is adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961)
One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes 1 carrot, sliced 1 onion, sliced Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons flour 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy) 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 cloves mashed garlic 1/2 teaspoon thyme A crumbled bay leaf 18 to 24 white onions, small 3 1/2 tablespoons butter Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth) 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Saute lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp.
Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and saute until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly.
Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees. Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.
There are many more wonderfully exquisite dishes that will remind everyone at your table that it's fall. Below are varied in difficulty but well worth it. Just give it a try and you won't regret it.
Asian-Glazed Braised Short Ribs By Molly Stevens Fine Cooking Issue 77 Scott Phillips
4 to 5 lb. meaty bone-in beef short ribs, preferably English style
1 Tbs. five-spice powder
2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
2 tsp. light or dark brown sugar
1 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
3 Tbs. peanut oil
2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1 12-oz. bottle lager beer at room temperature; more if needed
1 cup homemade or low-salt canned beef or chicken broth; more if needed
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. ketchup
1 tsp. fish sauce
Rub the ribs a day ahead:
Trim any excess fat from the top of each rib down to the first layer of meat, but don’t take off any of the silverskin or the tough-looking bits that hold the ribs together or onto the bone. Combine the five-spice powder, salt, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub this mixture all over the ribs. Put the ribs in a single layer on a tray or baking dish, cover loosely with plastic, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.
Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel, but don’t rub off the spices. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven (or other heavy pot with a lid) over medium heat until hot. Add only as many ribs as will fit without touching, and brown them, turning with tongs until nicely browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, and continue until all the ribs are browned.
Pour off and discard most of the fat from the pot. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. of oil and return the pot to medium heat. Add the onions, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and start to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Add the beer and bring to a full boil over high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to dislodge any caramelized bits. Pour in the broth and soy sauce, return to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the bay leaf.
Return the ribs to the pot, preferably in a single layer, along with any juices. The ribs should be at least three-quarters submerged in the liquid. If necessary, add a bit more beer or broth.
Crumple a large sheet of parchment and smooth it out again. Arrange it over the pot, pressing it down so it nearly touches the ribs, allowing any overhang to extend up and over the edges of the pot. Put the lid in place and transfer the pot to the oven. Braise, turning the ribs with tongs every 45 minutes, until the meat is fork-tender and pulling away from the bone, about 2-1/2 hours.
Make the glaze:
While the ribs are braising, measure the honey in a 1-cup liquid measure, add the orange juice, ketchup, and fish sauce, and combine using a whisk or a fork.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the ribs (meaty side up) to a flameproof gratin dish or a shallow baking pan that is large enough to accommodate the ribs in a single layer. Don’t worry if some bones slip out. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a 4-cup measuring cup, pressing gently on the solids with a spoon to extract the liquid. When the fat has risen to the top, tilt the cup so you can spoon off as much fat as you can. You should have about 1 cup of thin but flavorful sauce. If necessary, simmer the sauce in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the flavor is concentrated to your liking. Season to taste. Keep warm.
Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Generously brush the honey-orange juice glaze on the tops of the ribs. Slide the ribs under the broiler and broil until the surface of the ribs develops a shiny, almost caramelized glaze and you can hear them sizzle, about 4 minutes.
Serve with the sauce on the side for dipping, or drizzle it over the ribs.
Pot Roast Smothered in Bacon and Onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
One 2 1/2-pound beef chuck roast, tied at 1-inch intervals
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds onions, very thinly sliced
12 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/4 cups water
20 whole allspice berries
10 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the bacon and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the roast between the strings into four 1-inch-thick slabs. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook the meat in the casserole over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Lower the heat to moderate for the second batch if the butter begins to brown too quickly. Remove the strings, keeping the steaks intact, if possible.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Add the onions, garlic, 1/4 cup of the water and 1 teaspoon of salt to the casserole. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the casserole, about 8 minutes. Transfer half of the onions to a plate. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into the onions in the casserole. Nestle the steaks into the onions, overlapping them slightly if necessary. Add the allspice berries, peppercorns, crushed red pepper and bay leaf and lay half of the reserved bacon over the steaks. Spread the remaining onions and bacon on top. Add the wine and the remaining 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over moderately high heat for 5 minutes.
Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 250° and continue braising for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the steaks are very tender. Turn the oven off, uncover the casserole and let the meat stand in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve the meat and onions in deep plates; spoon the sauce on top and sprinkle with the parsley
Carbonnade à la Flamande (Flemish Beef Stew)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 pounds beef flatiron or blade steaks, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices, about 3 inches wide
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups thickly sliced onions
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Three 12-ounce cans beer
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Boiled carrots and potatoes, for serving
In an enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Season the beef with salt and pepper and add one-third of it to the casserole. Cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with 2 more batches of meat, using the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
Add the onions to the casserole, cover and cook over low heat, stirring, until browned, 8 minutes. Stir in the flour until the onions are well-coated, then slowly add the beer. Return the meat to the casserole along with any accumulated juices. Add the thyme and bay leaves, cover and simmer over low heat, stirring, until the beef is tender, 2 hours.
Uncover and transfer the meat to a bowl. Simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened slightly. Discard the bay leaves. Return the meat to the casserole and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with boiled carrots and potatoes.
Pressure Cooker Thai Green Chicken Curry With Eggplant and Kabocha Squash Recipe
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
3 Thai green bird's eye chilies, halved
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
One (14-ounce) can coconut milk
6 cups cubed skin-on kabocha squash (from about half of one small 4-pound squash)
1 medium (12-ounce) eggplant, cubed (about 4 cups)
One (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or 4 pounds chicken drumsticks and thighs
1 tablespoon fish sauce
4 ounces spinach (about 4 packed cups), roughly chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems (from about 5 sprigs)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves (from about 5 sprigs)
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooked rice, barley, or other grain, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat ("sear" setting on an electric pressure cooker) until shimmering. Add garlic, chilies, ginger, coriander, and cumin and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, until paste has darkened slightly, about 3 minutes.
Stir in coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and cook for 1 minute. Season chicken pieces with salt. Add half the squash and eggplant and season with salt. Add chicken and top with the remaining squash and eggplant. Season with salt. Seal pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
Release pressure, remove lid, and stir in fish sauce, spinach, and 1/4 cup each of the cilantro and Thai basil. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the stew into serving bowls and scatter remaining cilantro and basil on top. Serve with rice and lime wedges.