Feeling Fall Dinner

Herb Roasted Cornish Hens

It’s the first weekend after labor day and I am pining for some cool, crisp fall weather.  Instead, in South Florida, the heat is even more stifling than usual.  I don’t know if I can take much more of it.   So, how about I crank up the air conditioning, put on a sweater and cook some classic fall dishes?  It’s a plan!

Feeling Fall Menu:

I stuffed the hens with sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano and a good sized piece of lemon.  I made a puree of the same herbs, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  I loosened the skin covering the breast to make a pocket.  I filled the pocket with the herb puree.  It smelled amazing while it was cooking.  The hens came out very juicy, tender and so flavorful.

Caramelized Butternut Squash with Brown Onions

For the Squash, I peeled and cubed a butternut squash.  I melted some butter and added, salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of brown sugar.  The sugar isn’t meant to sweeten the dish, it is for enhancing the caramelization process. I tossed the squash cubes in the seasoned butter and roasted them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes

Herb Roasted Cornish Hen with Caramelized Squash and Onions and Parslied Egg Noodles

I was going to serve the onions separately, but in the end I added them to the roasted squash.  It was a marriage made in heaven.  The browned pearl onions were made using Julia Child’s classic recipe for “Oignons Glaces A Brun” or “Brown-Braised Onions”. This dish used to be a ton of work to peel all those little onions, but not anymore – I use the Birdseye frozen pearl onions and they work very well in this dish.  They’re already peeled and ready to go.  Thaw them and drain them for a bit in a mesh strainer.

Julia uses 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large saute pan.  Once the fats are bubbling, add the onions in a single layer.  Cook and stir over medium high heat until the onions are browned.  Then she adds a bit of beef stock and braises them until all the liquid has cooked off.  After the liquid has cooked off, I like to add more and reduce the liquid again.  Sometimes I do it three times.  Just make sure the onions are very tender but not falling apart.

When David and I lived in Connecticut (and we had proper fall weather), I used to make a compote of apples, raisins, walnuts, brandy, brown sugar and a bit of butter.  We would eat it warm on vanilla ice cream.  It is really easy to make and just screams, “New England Fall Food”.  So, I conjured up that recipe and made it for our “Feeling Fall Dinner”.  I was as delicious as I had remembered.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Warm Apple Compote


2 Responses to Feeling Fall Dinner

  1. Sandie Goodchild says:

    Dear Carol – I wanted to drop a noteto thank you for your sensational Ham with Orange Marmalade Glaze recipe! I was searching for a new glaze and this really is a favourite – have used it twice so far and have a leg to do tonight so here we go again! Thank you for sharing!

    Sandie Goodchild Perth Western Australia

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