Five healthy autumn recipes and the sustainable wines to pair them with
The evenings here in London are drawing in rapidly. Only a month ago the sun was setting at a leisurely, life inducing 8 pm. Now it’s gone soon after 6 pm. The sun is regressing to a childhood bedtime, the sky has snapped, drained of warming light, replaced with that thin vaulted ceiling that comes in the onset of autumn and that dreaded phenomenon at the end of this month – the clocks going back. Before we know it, we’ll be crawling into our offices in the dark and leaving at night. This calls for some seriously healthy autumn recipes to make home all the more inviting. Here we pair some delicious healthy autumn recipes with some of our best supplies of sustainable wine.
Twice-baked butternut squash with quinoa and gorgonzola
I tried this from my list of healthy autumn recipes for the first time last week. Super affordable, easy prep time and certainly heart warming, if your table is adorned with Halloween pumpkin paraphernalia then this dish pretty much looks like a continuation of your mantlepiece and doorway and, for those of you into this sort of thing, an Instagram sensation for this time of year. The recipe in full is available on Naturally Ella.
Ingredients: butternut squash, olive oil, shallots, quinoa, gorgonzola, salt and pepper, rosemary, thyme, parsley.
Pair with: Monte da Ravasqueira Seleção do Ano Red 2017 – With a dark and dense colour and a well-balanced nose full of forest fruits, plum, fig and forest floor, this selection of the year (Seleção do Ano) is truly full in body. Velvet and rich texture is a strong company for this kind of dish. (Only £12.50).
Broccoli walnut rarebit
Nothing heralds autumn in our house like Broccoli walnut rarebit, from the healthy autumn recipes found on Abel and Cole. Ostensibly this looks unappetising, especially for meat eaters. This is a whole large very green broccoli adorned with cheese and walnuts cooked in a cider sauce.
Certainly, when I first saw it on a plate three letters floated through my mind, using a ‘t’ an ‘f’ and a ‘w’. Who would ever serve a whole broccoli on a plate and expect that to satisfy. But this is broccoli as you’ve never known it – tastier than a steak, more satisfying than the heartiest of stews. Whether you’re just back from the office or a Saturday trip clothes shopping – whatever drudgery – this meal will immediately leave you feeling that you’ve fed body and mind, returned from a four hour hike across the Lakes, just been frolicking in the woods surrounded by red, gold, and brown leaves – whatever autumn adventure takes your fancy, its memory is evoked in this recipe full of autumn ingredients.
Ingredients: Broccoli, butter, flour, cider, cheddar, dijon mustard, chilli powder, salt and pepper, chopped walnuts.
Pair with: Tremolov Select Chardonnay Guliev 2013 – we were simply blown away by this wines creamy presence! Its richness can stand up against any big Californian Chardonnay. If the quality does not win you over, then have a look at the price. So much value! Remember this name; Guliev! (£15.00)
Parsnip and kale gratin with cheese
What says autumn more than pulling a bake out of the oven and setting it on the table? So most of these recipes are bakes, and this one is a sizzler from our healthy autumn recipes, suitable for vegetarians. I usually serve this with some baked sausages for those who need a little protein. This one is a variation of a recipe on BBC Goodfood with additional autumn ingredients such as kale instead of leeks, and any flavoursome cheese can be added such as gruyere. This comes out of the oven bubbling with deliciousness, where double cream can be replaced with the lower fat creme fraiche alternative, cheesy roasted seasonal autumn vegetables oozing with flavour. A real comfort food from that range of healthy autumn recipes that, as the Canadians say, “stick to your ribs”.
Ingredients: kale, gruyere, parsnip, double cream/creme fraiche, milk, garlic
Pair with: Cossetti Barbera d’Asti ‘La Vigna Vecchia’ DOCG 2014 – This wine is simple yet bright, clear ruby red, with ripe forest fruits, and earthy, herbal undertones. Long and incredibly moreish on the palate, with velvety smooth tannins and rich sour cherry flavours, rounded off with a lasting acidity. (£15.50)
Broccoli cauliflower rice chicken casserole
This one tumbles from the delicious healthy fall dinner recipes available form American food blogger IsabelEats, Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Chicken Casserole. In many respects, from the sound of it, it’s inedible. But remarkably simple to make, this packs tonnes of flavour with two vegetables that for many of us languish on the unusable pile. But as far as autumn main courses go, this is a delicious, creamy chicken casserole, where the blended cauliflower and creme fraiche provide a romantic backdrop for chicken and broccoli, under sheets of crispy baked cheese, to get it on.
Ingredients: chicken breasts, olive oil, cauliflower, broccoli, eggs, mozzarella, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, butter, shredded cheese (cheddar will do).
Pair with: Monólogo Chardonnay 2015 – This is, in fact, a naked Chardonnay, an unoaked Chardonnay with bright straw yellow colour. Intense and elegant on the nose with distinct notes of white pulp and orchard fresh fruits. Great structure texture and dense creaminess from extended lees ageing, and a lovely floral palate to finish.
Roasted chicken with parsnips
Parsnips, while available all year round, are in their peak season from now on. So if you are keen on using seasonal ingredients in your healthy autumn recipes then this one from the Le Creuset in the US is pretty good. Americans love their easy fall chicken recipes, abounding in simplicity, ease and flavour so that I insist on using the Le Creuset USA website for optimistic recipes and flavours not usually find in the UK. Onions, lemons, herbs, parsnips and a whole chicken, in a Le Creuset casserole dish/dutch oven, for one and a half hours, and you have a perfect Sunday lunch that is effortlessly tasty.
While this uses spring and summer ingredients like lemon and herbs, the flavour this provides to seasonal parsnips is close to insane and produces a delicious creamy sauce to drizzle over the carved chicken. Side vegetables are roasted separately. For an Indian Summer such as we are experiencing, with one day cold and the next an echo of our earlier heatwave, this is a perfect accompaniment to our changing weather, easing us into hibernation with a French-style but truly American healthy autumn recipe.
Ingredients: whole chicken, lemons, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper, olive oil, shallots, (baby) parsnips.
Pair with: Villa Crine Valpolicella Classico 2016 – This lovely wine is a bright purple-red colour, the wine itself has a fragrant bouquet where the fruity notes of cherry and black currant are joined by hints of pepper and green notes. On the palate, the wine is fresh and very pleasant. The finish is a very persistent finish which matches perfectly with the roasted flavours of your roast!