Seasonality breeds creativity, and it’s always such an inspiration to see what the weather is offering at the market. As I do with most of the dishes served at my restaurant, I like to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. I’ll take the most common, overlooked fall ingredients and turn them into something that’s desired and there you have it, they’re the star of the season. Another great thing about seasonal ingredients is that it’s a great opportunity to introduce new produce and techniques to the chefs that work in my restaurants. All of the chefs await the change of season and are eager to create new and exciting dishes; in the fall they’re earthy and rich, in the spring they’re vibrant and colorful. Here are 12 of my favorite fall ingredients to cook with, and what I like to do with them.
Beets are like crayons to me; I’ll use them in dishes to add color and art to a plate. They’re great roasted and served with a crumble of goat cheese, or can be used in reductions or sauces to go along with your seasonal game dish.
I could go on and on about this squash, but my favorite way to use it is in soup. I’ve played around with my recipe a lot, just as The Daily Meal did, and I still haven’t settled on my favorite. It’s also great in other warm, fall dishes like risotto, ravioli, or just by itself roasted.
Pumpkin a very versatile squash as well, but my favorite way of using it is as a bowl for soup that I’m serving. You also can’t go wrong with my pumpkin egg ravioli, either.
When I think of a fall plate, I always imagine Brussels sprouts. They just scream fall, and are great roasted with a light drizzle of maple syrup and tossed with fried pancetta or bacon.
Also known as deer, venison is one of my favorite games to work with. It’s great grilled and served alongside any of the other seasonal ingredients that I’ve listed here.
Surprise your guests this fall and instead of making an apple pie, use apples in a savory dish. They’re great for making a sauce for your grilled pork chops, and can even be tossed into a salad. If you can’t resist the sweet aspects of this fall ingredient, try using it in my apple tart recipe.
Pheasant is another fall protein that I get so excited about. Most people roast as they would a chicken or turkey, but I like braising my pheasant and using it in a stew.
This root vegetable takes on a ton of flavor when it’s roasted. My favorite way to serve it is as fries with an aioli sauce for dipping.
Most people associate artichokes with the spring, but you can get your hands on a few in the fall as well. I like using the hearts to make a white wine sauce for chicken, but they’re also great steamed or roasted.
It’s hard for me to resist adding pears to a dessert dish in the fall, and my favorite way of serving them is poached, like I do with my chocolate chip pancake recipe.
Dates scream fall, and they’re versatile enough to make it into any dish you’re creating. Try sprinkling them on a salad for a first course, serving them with root vegetables as your main, or adding them to a tart for your dessert.
I take inspiration from one of my favorite holiday songs with these guys and roast them. If you’re looking for something out of the box, try processing them and using them to bread chicken or fish.