THE days are getting shorter and the nights colder.
As hard as we try to deny it, fall is in the air. This is the time of year to make homey, comforting meals featuring products of the autumn harvest: apples, squash, pears etc. Set a vase of bright fall mums on your dinner table, put the soup on to simmer and let the sweet smell of baking apples fill your home with the spirit of the season.
GINGERED CARROT AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
2 Tbsp butter
4 large carrots, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp curry powder
4 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup light cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large pot melt butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, garlic, onion and ginger; sauté, stirring, for about five minutes or until onion is lightly browned and softened. Stir in the curry powder and let cook for about one minute more until the curry is very fragrant. Add the squash and the stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are very soft, between 15 and 30 minutes depending on how hard the squash is. In batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth (don't fill the blender more than half full of hot soup or it will explode).
Strain each batch of the pureed soup through a fine sieve back into the original pot, pressing with a spatula to force as much of the pulp through the sieve as possible. Discard any stringy pulp that won't go through the sieve. Stir in the cream and reheat the soup over medium-low heat, not allowing it to boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes six to eight servings.
SALISBURY STEAK WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY
This is total comfort food. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and steamed baby carrots.
1½ lbs ground prime rib or sirloin
1 egg yolk
1 ?3 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp grated onion
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups sliced white or brown mushrooms
Pinch of dried thyme
1 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1½ cups beef broth Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a bowl, mix together the beef, egg yolk, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, grated onion and a quarter teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Shape mixture into four oval patties about three-quarters of an inch thick. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the patties and brown thoroughly on each side.
Remove patties to a plate and set aside. To the same skillet add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about three minutes.
Add the mushrooms, thyme and soy sauce; cook, stirring, until mushrooms are golden, about five minutes. Sprinkle flour evenly over the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for one minute. Stir in the stock gradually, whisking constantly to prevent lumps; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Taste sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
Return the patties and any accumulated juices to the pan; cover and simmer gently until patties are no longer pink inside, about 15 minutes. Makes four servings.
You have to love a recipe with a name like that. This is so simple and really delicious.
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into thin slices
4 Tbsp butter
¼ cup sugar mixed with ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ?3 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the apple slices in a well-buttered eight-inch round pan, filling it two-thirds full. Dot with the butter and sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mix evenly over top.
To make the topping, mix together the sugar, flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whip the cream to soft peaks.
Gently stir in vanilla, then fold the cream into the dry ingredients until well combined. Spread mixture evenly over apples.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling up around edges. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Makes six servings.