In Minnesota, we have our four seasons, and at the end of the bright, sunny, summer, leading into crisp, sweater-weather, fall, we are inundated with a bounty of end-of-season produce that can make your grandmothers recipe book open by itself in excitement!
Just take a quick look at some of the most used produce here in MN; we’ve got garlic, squash, potatoes, carrots, romaine lettuce, spinach, pumpkins, and apples. There’s a lot to go with here, lots of directions to go. Do you want a savory, filling, meal? Are you looking for a light, fresh, entry? Are you hankering for a sweet treat?
Fall is the best time to make your taste buds scream in joy. Here’s a few recipes that will take advantage of the bounty you’ll find.
We’ll start with something a little different. Of course, there’s the popular pies, cupcakes, coffee drinks that usher in the cool weather. But, what if we tried to do something a little different with our pumpkins. Let’s make a deliciously savory & spicy dish. Note: You can use any winter squash . The texture and taste is all up for grabs.
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp black pepper, ground
1 and 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
1 and 1/2 tsp unrefined salt (divided)
2 pounds chicken thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee, divided
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 cups pumpkin (peeled, deseeded, and cubed into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
2 carrots sliced
1 and 1/2 cups homemade broth
1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 cups packed greens, chopped (spinach, bok choy, tatsoi, and chard work best as they cook fast)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
fresh cilantro for garnish
Combine cumin, garam masala, coriander, & turmeric, 1 tsp salt, and grated ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the chopped chicken pieces and toss to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee in a large pot over medium high heat and saute chicken until no longer pink on the inside- about 6-8 minutes. Then sprinkle on half of the spice mixture and cook another minute, until fragrant. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
In the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee over medium heat. Saute chopped onion until translucent. Add the remaining spices and cook another minute until spices are fragrant. Throw in pumpkin and carrots and toss to coat. Then pour in broth and coconut milk. Bring to boil, then turn down heat and allow to simmer until pumpkin is fork tender but not mushy – about 18-20 minutes.
Add chopped greens and cooked chicken and cook another 2-3 minutes- until greens are wilted. Add additional broth if you want it to be more soupy. Turn off heat and add lemon juice. Adjust for salt, pepper, and lemon to taste.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.
Gunderson Apple Butter
My mother was able to buy her very own house way back in 1991. The backyard had a small orchard of apples, mainly producing tiny sour things. However, she was able to make the most delicious apple butter with them. It just goes to show you that sugar can do wonders.
6 cups rich apple pulp
4 cups sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg to taste
Boil until a sample jells in cold water. Remove from heat
Pour apple butter into prepared sterile jars.
Cap with lids and rings
Turn upside down on clean towel and allow to cool.
Apple butter will be sealed when jars are cooled and then place upright.
Top on your favorite vanilla ice cream or dinner roll.
Why leave the fertile world of apples when there’s so many different ways to enjoy them? Have you considered turning your bushels into cider?
10 medium apples (use a variety– use Honey crisp and Granny Smith together)
3 cinnamon sticks (or 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon)
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Peel the orange and place the segments in the slow cooker. Wash the apples, cut into quarters, and place in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, and sugar. Add enough water to cover the fruit.
Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. (Or high heat for 3.)
After 6-7 hours, the fruit will be very soft. Use a large spoon to mash the fruit and release its liquids. Allow the cider to cook on low for 1 more hour.
Very slowly strain the chunky liquid though a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher. You can discard the solids. Strain the cider one more time to rid any other solids. Serve the cider warm. Leftover cider keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. Warm up on the stove before serving– or drink it cold!
Cider can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Split Pea Soup
There isn’t really much you can do to entice people to eat split pea soup. It’s filling and very good for you, yet its looks have much to be desired. Those that just get it, love the taste and have very fond memories of fall dinners. Those that don’t get it, simply have yet to give it a try.
I LOVE split pea soup. It’s my comfort food. With or without the ham slices stirred in, split pea soup speaks of times where your nose is chilled, just coming in from the outdoors. Here’s a recipe that just may give you that feeling.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pound dried split peas (rinsed and sorted)
1 ham bone (if desired)
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup diced ham (if desired)
In a large pot, melt butter until foaming subsides.
Add onion, carrot, celery, salt & pepper.
Cook until vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown (around 5-8 minutes)
Add garlic and cooke for 1 more minute
Stir in split peas
Add ham bone.
Stir in chicken stock and water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally until peas are cooked down
Add diced ham during last 15 minutes of cooking.
Remove ham bone
Serve with oyster crackers.