Chefs Share Favorite Recipes That Celebrate the Autumn Harvest
At Serevan Restaurant in Amenia, N.Y., Chef Serge Madikians serves his favorite Golden Delicious Apple and Cauliflower Soup every autumn when apples are harvested in the Hudson Valley and cauliflowers mature.
The chef recently included this popular recipe in a cooking demonstration held in mid-September at the HGS (Hillsdale General Store) Home Chef in Hillsdale, N.Y. If you missed the class, HGS has kindly shared the recipe.
Also in a nod to autumn, James O’Shea, chef/owner of the iconic West Street Grill in historic Litchfield, Conn., offered one of his favorite seasonal recipes (see page 8): Braised Beets with Avocado and Citrus.
The recipe, said O’Shea, is amazingly complex in taste, yet it is so basic and reflective of the season. It is not only a personal favorite, but a favorite among patrons who prefer plant-based foods.
“A lot of people are going vegan,” said the Litchfield restaurateur, who opened his restaurant on the historic town Green three decades ago to wide acclaim. “They are doing it for a variety of reasons, for their health, the environment and their general well-being.”
The chefs’ elegant, but simple, autumn-inspired recipes are a sure way to enjoy the season’s bounty and welcome fall deliciously.
Golden Delicious Apple and Cauliflower Soup
Submitted by Serge Madikians, Serevan Restaurant, Amenia, N.Y.
At Serevan, we serve this soup with Armenian coffee crème fraiche, which adds a very nice contrast to the delicate flavors and the creamy nature of the soup. Chiffonade of spinach, some chopped herbs, or even finely diced sweet apples work very well and add some contrast to the silky feel of the soup.
— Serge Madikians
1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed and cut into equal size pieces, on the small size
4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cut into wedges
3 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
5 Tbsp butter (Olive oil for dairy-free)
2 cups heavy cream (coconut milk for dairy-free)
1 cup milk (water or vegetable stock for dairy-free)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp honey
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole green cardamom, smashed
1 star anise
½ cup cooked rice (optional)
Pinch of saffron, salt
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, add the sliced shallots and stir until they are nice and soft, but don’t have any color. Add the spices, and one tablespoon of salt and stir for a few minutes on medium heat. This step allows for the spices to bloom and impart their flavors onto the butter.
Add the apples, the cauliflower and toss well and allow them to coat with the spice-butter mixture. Add the honey, the remaining liquids, the rice and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
Once the cauliflower has cooked through, carefully remove as many of the spices as you can, particularly the cinnamon stick. Then in batches, transfer the soup to a blender, and make sure the soup is silky and free of any apple peels or pieces of spice.
Adjust seasoning as needed. Sometimes, if the apples are not sweet enough, or you may have added in a bit of tartness and/or you taste bitterness, you could add a bit more honey to the soup.
The soup could be made a day ahead. If you decide to do this, take care and time to make sure you cool your soup quickly, which could be done if the soup is put in a clean bowl placed over an ice bath. The cream, milk and butter make the soup susceptible to spoilage if not chilled quickly.
As an Armenian from Tehran, Iran, I love the delicate aromas of good saffron, especially when it’s used judiciously. Often cooks use too much saffron which brings its bitterness and heaviness forward. If that happens, add a bit more honey to your final product.
Braised Beets with Avocado and Citrus
Submitted by James O’Shea, West Street Grill, Litchfield, Conn.
This quick, earthy, thrown-together salad is amazingly complex, yet so basic. It really represents food straight from the ground and the benefits of plant-based foods. This dish is very similar to the foods I ate at my home table in Ireland going back to my grandmother’s days and my mother’s need for a quick and easy meal.
— James O’Shea
8 small to medium beets (approx. 2 inches in diameter) roots left on, beet greens trimmed to 1 ½”, gently scrubbed
1 Tbsp mixed pickling spice
1 bay leaf
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
2 oranges in season
2 avocados, ripe yet firm
6 Tbsp walnuts
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de Sel or other high-quality sea salt
Good pinch of Piment d’Espelette (red chili pepper powder)
1 tsp Madras curry, gently heated in a nonstick pan to remove rawness. (note: if using the Madras curry, you may want to reduce the sea salt)
Wisk all ingredients in a small salad bowl and set aside.
1. Preheat convection oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Place beets in a small roasting pan. Cover the beets halfway with cold water and add the pickling spice and bay leaf. (Tip: Cold water may be substituted with a good, dry Rose’ for added flavor.)
3. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and cover pan with aluminum foil.
4. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the beets. Carefully fold back foil and check on how tender the beets are by piercing the center with a paring knife. If there is no resistance, the beets are cooked, if not, allow an additional 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time.
5. Remove from oven, transfer beets to large container and allow to cool until they can be handled (they will be easier to peel when they are slightly warm). Gently squeeze the beets out of their skins.
6. Meanwhile, prepare the orange segments. Trim both ends of oranges. Using a sharp paring knife and using the shape of the orange as your guide, remove the peel of the orange. Be sure to remove all the white pith. Using the knife, carefully segment the orange by slicing between the membrane and the fruit. Set orange segments aside. Use the remaining orange core, and skins, to squeeze out any remaining juice and pour over oranges.
7. Cut the peeled beets into sections and toss with half of the dressing. (Tip: The beets can instead be sliced with a Japanese mandolin, if preferred).
8. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, remove the pit, and very carefully peel off the flesh leaving the avocado half whole and slice thinly.
9. Divide the beets between 4 large plates or shallow bowls. Place half of an avocado on the side of the beets. Divide and place orange segments between the beets and avocados. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Top with walnut halves and micro beet greens and a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel, if desired.