By Judi Gallagher –
Welcome to our fall edition. With the air cooling and parts of the country mesmerized by the splendor of autumn hues, my kitchen turns into its own colorful display of braising pots, baking and roasting pans, bowls of apples, jars of apple butter, cranberries and cinnamon sticks.
My oven has already started the season workout with apple crisp, bread pudding and, of course, a beautiful rump roast with pan gravy simmering on the stove.
Here are some simple steps to help you prepare for more indoor cooking:
Use your heavy Le Creuset Dutch ovens as decoration on your dining room table and buffet; this way, they are always at arm’s reach and the assortment of colors adds a pop of autumn.
Keep hearty, freezer-friendly dishes like beef stew, pumpkin bread, scalloped potatoes and mushroom barley soup ready for a quick homemade meal as you cuddle on the couch and turn on Netflix. All you will need is a crusty, warm French baguette; a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese and apple butter; and, of course, a pair of warm, fuzzy slippers.
Hearty Beef Stew
This recipe falls somewhere between a beef stew and a classic beef Bourguignon. Be sure to use a quality stew meat like Hereford Beef, and a good Cabernet.
2 pounds stew meat, cut into cubes (Fresh Market has the Hereford brand already cubed)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
1½-ounce container of Demi-Glace Gold (this brand is only $4.99 and well worth it for a rich, hearty stock)
2-3 cups hot water
1 cup rich Cabernet wine
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup sliced celery
2 cups peeled fresh baby onions
1 cup cut red potatoes
½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas, thawed but not cooked
Buttered noodles, cooked
To thicken if needed:
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ cup cold water
Heat oil in large pot. Season meat with garlic salt and black pepper. Let rest 5 minutes or so. Toss gently into flour, shaking off excess before adding to pot. Gently brown on both sides. Add water and demi-glace mix. Lower heat and simmer for ½ hour. Add wine and simmer for another ½ hour. Add red potatoes, onions, carrots and celery. Adjust seasoning and add more wine if needed. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add peas and taste to see if you would like the stew thicker or more seasoned.
Remove bay leaf. Add slurry to low boiling stew if you need to thicken. Serve over buttered noodles.
Apple Coffee Cake French Toast with Warm Apple Compote
If you aren’t cooking for a crowd, you may have some leftover pastry. I freeze the extra pieces and use them to make either a bread pudding or an apple French toast. Perfect for a main course at brunch, the coffee cake ring is so sweet and delicious by itself that you won’t have to work too hard to create this dish. You may substitute fresh apricots, when they are in season, for the apples. Use a splash of apricot brandy or regular brandy instead of the apple brandy.
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 bag Macintosh apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar, separated into half cups
¼ cup Calvados apple brandy
¼ cup water (if needed for apples)
1 coffee cake ring
1 jar pumpkin butter or plum butter
1 cup fresh whipped cream
1 cup half and half
In a medium saucepot, add apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar. Heat until apples are soft and chunky. Add water, if needed, during the cooking process. Blend in Calvados and let it sit on the stove without heat. In the meantime, slice the coffee cake on the bias. Heat a large sauté pan and add 1 tablespoon butter. Whip eggs with half and half, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dip the coffee cake slices into the batter, turn to fully cover both sides, and add to a hot griddle or pan with melted butter. Grill cake slices on both sides until golden brown. Add more butter to the pan as needed. Arrange French toast slices on a platter. Brush with pumpkin or plum butter. Top with warm apple compote and a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Garnish with cinnamon and sugar.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pancetta Sage Brown Butter
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan
2 chunks pancetta, diced
Cook the ravioli according to the package directions. Drain and return the ravioli to the pot. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it foams. Add the shallots and stir until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook until slightly crispy. Increase heat to medium. Add the sage and cook until the leaves turn crisp, about 1½ minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shallot-sage butter to the pasta pot and toss gently. Add ½ cup Parmesan and toss again. Divide the pasta among bowls and top with the remaining Parmesan.
½ cup Spanish onions, diced small
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 orange, zested and juiced
3 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 12-ounce package cranberries
In a saucepan, combine the onions, ginger, orange juice and zest, sugar, vinegar and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil and cook down to a syrup (about 15 minutes). Add cranberries and continue to cook until the cranberries have all “popped.”
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Napoleon with Caramelized Ginger
I love this recipe because it is refreshing, even if the temperature on the Florida Turkey Day is in the 80s. Try the pumpkin filling on top of golden brown cheese blintzes for a decadent holiday brunch dessert.
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and cut into 9 pieces
For the filling:
1 10½-ounce jar pumpkin curd
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus extra for garnish
¼ cup pumpkin pie filling
1 teaspoon sugar
Crystallized ginger, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chill beaters and medium-sized metal bowl in freezer. Place thawed puff pastry (30-40 minutes to thaw) on floured countertop and cut into 9 3-inch squares. Place on non-greased cookie sheets and bake at 400 degrees until brown (approximately 12 minutes). Cool on wire rack. Whip cream until almost peaked. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Whip until peaks form. Set aside 2 ounces whipped cream for garnish. Whip softened cream cheese and pumpkin curd with pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin filling. Add 1 teaspoon sugar. Lightly fold this filling into the whipped cream and chill for 1 hour. Carefully slice the puff pastry square in half. Top one layer with filling (about 3 tablespoons), and top with half of puff pastry, and repeat. Garnish with a teaspoon of whipped cream. Sift powdered sugar and pumpkin pie seasoning over the top, and plate. Garnish with smashed pieces of crystallized ginger. Let sit for 4-6 hours in the refrigerator, uncovered. Coconut Bay Trading Company in Palmetto, Fla. makes a wonderful cinnamon-ginger candy that is perfect with this dessert. It is found in most gourmet stores.
I asked the butchers at Fresh Market what holiday recipe they get asked about the most, and this is what they told me: Prime rib. So, I have two foolproof methods for you to try. The absolute key is to have a calibrated oven and a good working meat thermometer. Also, remember to take the roast out and leave it at room temperature for 2 hours before roasting (this is very important). Perfect prime rib is an easy undertaking if you follow a few key steps. The most important trick is to use an accurate digital thermometer; this is the only way to ensure the desired doneness, which hopefully is a perfectly pink medium-rare. This prime rib recipe will work no matter what size roast you’re using. A great rule of thumb is that each rib will feed 2 guests. So, a 4-rib roast will serve 8 guests. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 3 hours. Total time: 3 hours, 10 minutes.
1 standing beef rib roast (4 to 7 ribs, 9 to 18 pounds)
Fresh, coarse ground black pepper, as needed
Kosher salt or other larger-grain, flake-style salt (1/2 teaspoon per bone and I prefer truffle salt with the black pepper)
Softened butter, 1/2 tablespoon per rib of beef
1 large metal roasting pan with at least 3-inch sides
2 tablespoon flour
1 quart cold beef broth
Remove the prime rib from the refrigerator and place it in the pan. No rack is needed, as the rib bones form a natural rack and will keep the prime rib off the pan. Rub the entire surface of the cold roast with butter, and coat evenly with the kosher salt and black pepper. Leave the prime rib out at room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When the oven is hot, put the roast in and cook it for 20 minutes to sear the outside. After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 325 degrees and roast until the desired internal temperature is reached (see guide below). For medium-rare, this will take approximately 15 minutes per pound. Transfer to a large platter. Let the prime rib rest, loosely covered with foil, for 30 minutes before serving. Cutting into the meat too early will cause a significant loss of juice. For the au jus sauce, while the prime rib is resting, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan and place it on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes to form a roux. Pour in the beef broth and whisk it into the roux, scraping all the caramelized beef drippings from the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to high and cook the sauce for 10 minutes until it reduces and thickens slightly (this is not a gravy, so don’t expect a thick, heavy sauce). Adjust seasoning, strain, and serve alongside the prime rib.
Internal Temperature Guide:
Below are the internal temperatures to go by, depending on how done you like your prime rib. Remember, these are the temperatures to remove the beef, and not the final temperature. The roast will continue to cook after it is removed. For rare, remove at 110 degrees (final temperature about 120). For medium-rare, remove at 120 degrees (final temperature about 130).
This method is said to work for any size prime rib. The meat is brought to room temperature (this is critical), and seasoned any way you like. Then, you multiply the exact weight times 5 minutes. For me it was 3.75 x 5 = 18.75 minutes. The roast is cooked at 500 degrees for exactly that many minutes. The heat is turned off, and you wait 2 hours without opening the oven door. Once you remove the prime rib, you’ll be slicing into the juiciest, most tender, perfectly medium-rare meat you’ve ever seen.