While selecting a chuck roast from the meat counter at Walt Churchill’s, the local butcher said to me, “You know fall is coming when people start asking for roasts and stop asking for steaks.”
His words echoed in my mind this past Sunday. I made my mother-in-law’s old world sauerbraten, a super-easy-to-make, unctuous dish with fork-tender braised beef, onions, red wine vinegar, cloves and ginger— all the tastes of autumn in one dish.
Brown a three to four pound chuck roast in one tablespoon of butter. Add two onions, thinly sliced. In a small bowl, mix together one-half cup of vinegar, one cup water, one-half cup brown sugar, one teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon pepper, four to five whole cloves, one-half teaspoon ground ginger, three bay leaves and one-fourth teaspoon thyme.
Pour mixture over roast and onions. Simmer on low for four hours or in a slow cooker for six hours.
The roast is best served with egg noodles or over mashed potatoes.
In addition to heartier cuts of meats, squashes of all kinds are abundant come the season of trick-or-treating.
One delightful vegetarian treat is Spaghetti Squash.
Cut the squash in half and deseed it. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and place the squash cut-side down on the cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour or until fork tender. Remove squash from oven. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, run a fork from the stem end to the bottom end to remove the stringy, spaghetti-like pulp.
Top the strands of pulp with jarred spaghetti sauce or drizzle with olive oil, fresh herbs, and feta cheese.
Of course, what would fall be without crisp apples?
Baked apple slices are perfect for an effortless dessert. A recipe found in Olwen Woodier’s “Apple Cookbook” inspired this variation.
Core, peel, and cut six apples into thin slices.
Place them in a greased baking dish. Mix one-half cup brown sugar, one-fourth cup flour (gluten-free variations work perfectly!), one teaspoon ground cinnamon, one-fourth teaspoon ground coriander, one-fourth teaspoon cloves, and one-fourth teaspoon ground ginger and sprinkle mixture over the apple slices.
Melt four tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and whisk in one-fourth cup of apple juice or cider. Pour over apples and sugar mixture, toss to combine and cover dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
When the leaves turn and the evenings grow dark early, the best meals are simple, piping hot and soothing to the soul. Spicy chili, brothy soups, hearty stews and filling casseroles guarantee to please and are uncomplicated to make.
Many basic recipes for these one-pot-wonders can be found at epicurious.com or foodnetwork.com. With a wide variety of online resources, there’s no excuse not to cook up and dig into your favorite fall dish.