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:
- Herb Roasted Cornish Hens
- Caramelized Butternut Squash with Browned Onions
- Parslied Buttered Egg Noodles
- Vanilla Ice Cream with Warm Brandy-Apple Compote
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.
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
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.