Fall is absolutely my favorite season. Even though it marks the end of the summer (which is short up here in Canada) and the beginning of winter (which is long, cold and dark, for the same reason), I always look forward to crisp autumn days, the turning of the leaves and, most of all, fall food.
This morning, I visited my local farmer’s market and stocked up on the best local food of the season: Macintosh apples, sweet pumpkin, leeks, red cabbage and kale. I also picked up some shiitake mushroom, fresh pork sausages from these folks, and splurged on some very delicious cheese from my favorite local cheese producer. In the spirit of this, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite fall recipes in the hopes of spreading my enthusiasm for the season.
The great thing about this recipe is its versatility. You can use just about any kind of apple (tart ones work best, though) and sub in butternut or acorn squash for the pumpkin. I’d forego the caraway seeds in favor of nutmeg, cinnamon and chili flakes, and would finish it with sauteed shiitake mushrooms instead of the bacon. As long as you’ve got the basic stock, squash of some kind, apples and spice, you’ve got a great, easy and satisfying soup.
2) Venison Pie
I find pastry extremely intimidating, but luckily I have a friend who’s an expert and is always up to collaborate on a delicious meat pie (on both the preparing and eating ends of the process). Venison is increasing in popularity and is available in many butcher shops and specialty food stores (if you’re lucky enough to know a hunter, even better); but you can sub in beef, goat or even pork, and the recipe will still work with some minor adjustment. Also, this recipe calls for “dripping” (which is essentially beef or pork fat), but you can use butter, olive oil or, if you’re like me, bacon grease, to the same end.
Yes, that’s right: beets. But you’d never know by tasting it. Beets are plentiful this time of year, and aside from roasting them or turning them into borscht, this is a great way to make use of them. While you won’t taste them in the cake, they add moisture and a subtle earthy flavor that pairs really well with dark chocolate. Just try it, and you’ll see how good it is.