Fall Staff Recommendations
My wife, Orsi, is such a phenomenal cook I’m always inclined to leave the cooking at our house to her, while I happily handle all the cleanup. That’s especially true this time of year. Fall at our house is when Orsi makes goulash, the signature dish of her native Hungary. Any stewing cut can work for goulash. You might try Silver Fern Farms grass-fed Angus beef bolar blade, a shoulder cut, as a start.
Iberico pork is a perennial favorite, no matter the season. I really love Iberico pork striploin (aka lomo) because you can roast it whole or cut it into boneless chops. I’ll still be grilling chops while the weather cooperates, but eventually we’ll cook them in a pan and serve them alongside sauteed wild chanterelles, a star of the fall mushroom season.
Our family is as fond of seafood as meat. Wild Key West pink shrimp became a favorite this summer and are sure to remain in rotation at our house year-round. They are deliciously sweet and so quick to defrost and cook they’re ideal for last-minute meals. Lately, we’ve also gotten into whole sardines, grilled or broiled with a spring of rosemary tucked inside. A squirt of fresh lemon is all you need to finish these beauties.
In the fall, I like to fill my home with lovely, inviting smells. Braises are great for that purpose. When I braise Angus beef cheeks I’ll probably throw in some mushrooms. Mushrooms are a fall favorite, for sure. They rock with oven-roasted chicken breasts too. I’ll add mushrooms to anything I can, so I like the variety of our organic mushroom sampler. When I roast a whole chicken, it feels like a mini-Thanksgiving. I like to stuff it with lemon, which creates a lighter, brighter taste.
Speaking of citrus, blood oranges come available in the Fall. They are wonderful desserts like blood orange curd cookies or blood orange cake. Their color just screams Autumn.
When fall rolls in, I braise away! I love cozy, cool-weather comfort foods. Nothing sticks to your ribs like braised beef chuck roast with a hearty side of veggies. I love osso bucco too. Making it with our New Zealand farm-raised venison really elevates the dish. Venison is super lean, mild-tasting, and oh-so-tender--a really delicious alternative to commodity beef shanks.
While we are talking of delicious alternatives, Iberico pork tenderloin is far superior in flavor to commodity pork tenderloin. Herb-crusted Iberico pork tenderloin makes a festive and tasty centerpiece for gatherings. Iberico pork tenderloins are smaller than your average pork tenderloins so it’s great these come in bulk to make bigger batches for parties. It also has a rich, natural taste, so you don’t need to doctor it up with a bunch of ingredients -- unless you want to.
I love to make a classic shepherd’s pie in the fall with minced lamb. It’s delicious, comforting, plus gives me an excuse to eat mashed potatoes, and nothing beats a whole-roasted chicken to brighten up a dreary fall day. It’s an easy weeknight dinner that requires little prep, especially with our Shenandoah Valley Organic chicken which tastes so good on its own it doesn’t require much seasoning.
I love to make borscht, which is not only a perfect fall dish, but also one of my year-round favorites. My borscht is usually vegetarian so that means lots of beets and potatoes. Our Washington-grown red LaSoda potatoes are perfect for borscht. If I made borscht with beef, I would choose an affordable cut like Silver Fern Farms grass-fed top sirloin. I also love good roast chicken in the fall, and they don’t get any better than Shenandoah Valley Organic chicken. In fact, my usual Thanksgiving dinner involves two chickens instead of a turkey! Delicious, and much easier to manage than one big bird. Chili returns to my repertoire in the Fall. Beef has always been the favorite meat for chili in our family. My dad has made it that way for as long as I can remember, but someday I’m going to try making chili with venison stew meat.
Fall is birthday season at our house. My husband usually requests steak for his special day—ideally a grain-fortified Irish Nature Beef ribeye with an extra-large baked potato and all the trimmings. Much as I love a great steak, I like to try new things too. This year, my birthday meal just might be venison. I recently pan seared some venison shoulder steaks, inspired by recent test kitchen demos using venison boneless shoulder and venison Denver leg. Both cuts are easy to work with and our farmed New Zealand venison is lean, mild, and super tender. It was a big hit with the whole family.
For me, crisp fall days demand warm, fragrant spices. It’s when I want to make kibbeh with ground lamb and lots of cinnamon, cumin, and coriander. I’m very fond of sheet pan suppers and one of my favorites is perfect for Fall: skinless, boneless chicken thighs, marinated with cinnamon, curry powder, cayenne, smoked paprika and olive oil. The chicken bakes on a sheet pan with cauliflower, apricots, and olives, and all those lovely flavors mingle while they bake. It makes the kitchen smell so good!
I’m pretty much a steak guy all year round. The ribeye is my favorite cut. I really enjoy our grass-fed beef from Silver Fern Farms in New Zealand, especially the grass-fed beef porterhouse steaks, but I also really like the taste of our grain-fortified Irish Nature beef. If I want something more petite, I’ll pan-roast some bavette steaks. I enjoy a great burger as much as I do steak. The grain-fortified ground beef steakhouse blend is terrific. I can make a burger at home that tastes close to a high-end restaurant burger. If I’m having bacon on my burger, it’s going to be Beeler’s hickory smoked bacon. Even when you cook it crisp, it's so thick it stays meaty.
Nothing says Fall quite like a hearty stew. I like to make it with big chunks of venison stew meat, carrots, potatoes, and celery. I grew up eating venison, and it’s still one of my favorite proteins. It always brings back warm feelings of home. When dad would bust out the venison striploin, it was always a treat. He likes to marinate venison striploin and serve it as surf-and-turf combo with creamy garlic shrimp. So good!
Fall is all about keeping it cozy. It is always such a delight to dive into a warm bowl of pasta in cooler weather, and what’s more comforting than a big bowl of chili with a hunk of fresh cornbread. We like to make chili with grass-fed Angus ground beef, and one of my very favorite pasta dishes is the classic carbonara with chunky bits of Kurobuta bacon. My partner and I will add zucchini, which gives it a different twist and makes us feel better about eating all those carbs.
Duck is a newer protein that I’ve added to my dinner repertoire. Duck meat is so tender and delicious, and I love the warm aromas of roasted Pekin duck legs and potatoes filling the apartment on a crisp fall day.
I’m very fortunate to have a 장모님 (Korean mother-in-law) who prepares all the traditional dishes for 추석 (Chuseok), often referred to as Korean Thanksgiving Day, which typically falls in late September or early October. Chuseok is a time for families to come together, pay respects to ancestors, and celebrate the harvest. These are some of the dishes commonly enjoyed for Chuseok in our family:
갈비찜 (galbi-jjim): Traditionally prepared with cross-cut bone-in short ribs, it can also be made with boneless short ribs. However, there’s no better way to impress a Korean than by cleaning the bones in your 갈비찜.
잡채 (japchae): A ubiquitous Korean celebration food made with strips of beef sirloin and brightly colored vegetables that give this noodle dish an appearance reminiscent of fireworks.
삼겹살 (samgyeopsal): Grilled pork belly is frequently served on its own and supplemented with sides of rice and fermented vegetables. The Korean name literally translates to “three meat layers,” which describes the appearance of the pork belly after slicing.
고등어구이 (godeungeo-gui): Whole mackerel is simple, straightforward, and unbelievably delicious. Some foods showcase the skill of the cook, but grilled mackerel showcases the quality of the food.
치맥 (chimaek): A meal comprised exclusively of fried chicken and beer, chimaek is not a Chuseok food, but chicken wings are very popular throughout Korea. The trick to Korean fried chicken is a brief second fry, crisping the skin while keeping the meat juicy.
Fall for me means roasts, stews, and cozy comfort foods. It means taking advantage of the end of berry season and all the fall produce that’s available. I would get some baby beets and roast them very simply with rosemary, butter, and olive oil. Sauté the beet greens separately, drizzle them with balsamic and top them with the tiny roasted beets.
Quail is super nutritious, very flavorful, and simple to pan sear. For fall, I’d serve a whole quail with a savory blackberry sauce instead of plum sauce, maybe add bourbon to turn it up a notch. It would be delicious with the beets.
Boneless lamb shoulder is wonderful for stew, a classic comfort food. I would toss in potatoes, carrots, onions, perhaps chickpeas. I imagine using a Moroccan-inspired spice mix for fall--turmeric, ginger, fenugreek seed, cumin, maybe add a stick of cinnamon, or dried apricots.
Pork spare ribs are a comfort food that my mother used to make. She used soy sauce, brown sugar, and toasted star of anise for the marinade. Steam the ribs before marinating them and then throw them on the grill to get a nice, caramelized finish. Our Iberico pork spare ribs would be fabulous cooked this way.
Mushrooms are a fall essential. Our organic mushroom sampler would be a great for making a Japanese-style curry, fragrant with spices, spiked with ginger, sweetened with onions, carrots, and winter squash. Ladle the curry over steamed rice, curl up, and get comfy.