I just adore harvest season, so crafting this feast was a true labor of love! With squash, pumpkins, apples, cranberries, and the like in such plentitude, creating a meal kind of felt like turning out the contents of the cornucopia onto my kitchen counter and going to town! Here is my 5-course menu with optional wine pairing. Enjoy!
Menu In a Nutshell
Cream of Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
(optional pairing: Viognier)
Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls with Maple Whipped Butter
(optional pairing: Mulled Apple Cider )
Apple Salad accompanied by a wedge of aged cheddar and a wisp of maple cotton candy
(optional pairing: Riesling )
Harvest Pot Roast
(optional pairing: Pinot Noir )
Indian Pudding with Apples topped with Double Espresso Gelato
(optional pairing: Moscato d’Asti)
First Course: Soup
Cream of Butternut Squash & Apple Soup:
My original intention here was to combine the wonderful flavors of apple and squash in an opening course, but when I began searching for recipes they all seemed to contain large amounts of curry, which though delicious, was not the taste I was looking for. Therefore, I was thrilled when I discovered this delightful recipe courtesy of Williams Sonoma. This soup, with its subtle yet complex effect on the palate, did not disappoint! My 12-yr-old son had a second bowl instead of dessert!
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Bermuda onion, chopped
- 1 butternut squash, about 3 lb.,
peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and
- 4 pinches of Spanish saffron threads, about
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
I used Cortland apples, added an additional 3 tablespoons of butter, and added a teaspoon of cinnamon. In addition, I found the salt and pepper to be quite necessary to prevent the taste from gravitating to bland or from over-reliance on the saffron.
Second Course: Bread
Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls:
This hearty and satisfying recipe came courtesy of King Arthur Flour. When cooking with sensitivity to gluten in mind, rolls tend to not be the first item of choice. They just looked so wonderful, however, that I accepted the challenge and decided to go for it! I have listed the recipe in its original form below but then noted my gluten modifications under “personal touches”
- 4 3/4 cups (20 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) firmly packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 cup (8 ounces) canned pumpkin or squash
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft butter
- 3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) dried cranberries or golden raisins
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) diced crystallized ginger
Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients except the fruit and crystallized ginger—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—until you’ve made a soft, fairly smooth dough. Right at the end, knead in the fruit and crystallized ginger; save out 16 cranberries, to use as a garnish. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, until it’s almost double in bulk.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, gently deflate it, and divide it into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Place rolls onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Set aside, covered lightly, to rise for 1 hour, or until the rolls look puffy.
Use a pair of scissors to gently snip an “X” into the top of each roll; be careful, as you don’t want to totally deflate the rolls (they’ll inevitably settle a bit as you snip). Set a dried cranberry into each opening. Bake the rolls in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re lightly browned and a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, set them on a rack, and brush with melted butter, if desired.Yield: 16 rolls.
I used King Arthur Gluten-free Multi Purpose Flour. This may have affected the rising process. It took twice as long during the first rise, and I added an additional teaspoon of yeast blended with warm water half way through. To smooth the texture, I added a tablespoon of mayo and a tablespoon of olive oil. I also used Irish Butter and dried cranberries. Be sure to include the crystallized ginger, it is irreplaceable!
Maple Whipped Butter:
No recipe here! Simply pour a bit of pure maple syrup into some delicious Irish Butter and whip until creamy. Start with just a touch of syrup. Add more for desired taste and consistency.
I sprinkled some crystallized maple sugar on top of the creamed butter for a lovely presentation!
Mulled cider served with a tall cinnamon stick as a server. I purchased a small packet of mulling spices from a local farm and simmered the combination cider and spices for hours leaving the house smelling amazing! We drank ours virgin, but feel free to add a dash of rum!
Third Course: Salad
- 10 large apples, cored, peeled, and chunked
- 2 Tablespoons of Flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
Hold apple chunks aside in a large bowl. Mix all ingredients except the apples together in a small bowl. Then sprinkle dry mixture over apples and toss well to coat.
I use Cortland Apples (my absolute favorite!), King Arthur Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour, Organic cane sugar, and sea salt. The salt is crucial to the amazing taste of this salad!
Carved Out Apple Bowls:
- Wash apple(s) you are planning to use.
- Hollow out inside of the apple(s) with a melon baller (removing core, flesh, and seeds), leaving a wall at least 1/4 inch thick.
- Sprinkle lemon juice on the inside of the apple lid and the inside flesh of the apple to prevent browning.
- You can store apples in refrigerator if you are not using them immediately.
I sprinkled granulated maple sugar in my shells prior to filling them to negate the flavor of the lemon juice. We loved these so much that we ate them after finishing the salad within!
I used 2-year aged vermont cheddar – approximately an ounce per person. Delicious!
Maple Cotton Candy:
A touch of maple cotton candy on the side (available here) was a light, delicious, whimsical, and super special touch!
Fourth Course: Main
Harvest Pot Roast:
Well… I did NOT want turkey! There I said it! I was seeking “harvesty” alternatives when fate brought me to this delicious and inspired recipe hailed from the blog: Confessions of a Kitchen Witch. It was wonderful! I can’t wait to investigate this site further and try other inspired concoctions!
- 4-5lb pot roast
- 1 stick butter
- 1 large onion sliced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- ¼ tsp. dried parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2-10oz cans French onion soup (or you can be adventurous and make your own from scratch)
- 4 large red potatoes, quartered
- 1-8oz package raw baby carrots (or home grown if lucky)
- 1-16oz pkg. frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix (or if you’re lucky use veggies from your garden this year)
In dutch oven or oven safe pot w/lid brown both side of the roast, using half the butter. Set the roast aside. With remaining butter, saute’ the onion, garlic, and celery until onions are tender and beginning to brown. Add the the thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and pepper. Mix well and then return the pot roast to the pan. Sprinkle salt over the roast and add the french onion soup. Cook at 325 degrees for 4 hours. Baste meat as needed. Add potatoes and carrots and salt to taste. Cook for another 45 minutes. Add broccoli/cauliflower mix and cook for 20 more minutes. Serve with hot bread, or dinner rolls.
Makes 8 servings
I used grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free beef from Whole Foods, organic boxed french onion soup, extra potatoes, and fresh veggies.
Pinot Noir (so good!!)
Fifth Course: Dessert
Indian Pudding with Apples topped with Double Espresso Gelato:
My recipe came from p.256 of the book: The Wilson Farm Country Cookbook: Recipes from New England’s Favorite Farm Stand by Lynne C. Wilson
Yield: 6 servings
- 1/2 cup coarse ground yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 cups milk, scalding hot
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- Apple Topping:
- 3 or 4 tart apples, sliced thin
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cornmeal and syrup in the top of a double boiler. Stir in hot milk. Cook mixture in top of double boiler over 2 inches of simmering water. Stir constantly for about 20 minutes, until thick and smooth. Remove from heat, remove top of boiler and stir in butter, spices, and salt. Add eggs and beat well. Pour mixture into a generously buttered 1-1/2-quart baking dish. Place baking dish in larger pan and pour about 1 inch of boiling water into larger pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes then stir. Continue baking for another 1-1/2 hours or until set. Serve warm with apple topping and heavy cream. For the apple topping, place the apples into a pan with the butter. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the apples are soft. Stir constantly so that the apples don’t turn brown or stick.
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Serve warm drizzled with double espresso gelato. Amazing!
Bon Appetit & Happy Harvest!