Autumn Recipes: A Tribute to Fall Harvest

- November 9, 2011

"As the days grow shorter and the nights long, it's the perfect time to cook up an autumn feast that pays tribute to New Mexico's fall harvest..."

As I was recently reading Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, I came across a passage that struck me as something you might say about Santa Fe: "A flourishing tradition of local cookery implies also genuine local products; the cooks and the housewives must be backed up by the dairy farmers, the pig breeders and pork butchers, the market gardeners and the fruit growers, otherwise regional cookery simply retreats into the realms of folk-lore."

Santa Fe has a flourishing tradition of local cookery, which has evolved in recent years as the city rose to be a top destination for foodies. Indeed, Santa Fe was just named one of the Top Ten Food Destinations by TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards, and is consistently featured in the pages of top food magazines and on cooking and travel shows.

One of the reasons why Santa Fe is so hugely popular with food lovers is because of its incredible harvest of local food, from pumpkins and squash to chile, apples, beans, potatoes, organic beef and poultry and more. Farmers across northern New Mexico lovingly tend their fields, harvesting the fruits—and vegetables—of their labor that end up roasted, baked or grilled and served on our kitchen tables.

Indeed, all of New Mexico offers a feast of flavors this time of year. From the scent of roasting green chile to the flavors of pumpkin, squash and apples. As the days grow shorter and the nights long, it's the perfect time to cook up an autumn feast that pays tribute to New Mexico's fall harvest. A spinach salad with roasted butternut squash and bacon, served with fresh, crusty bread, artisan cheeses, and a pumpkin cranberry tart, this dinner is perfect for fall. It honors the flavors of the season and celebrates our "flourishing tradition of local cookery."

Spinach Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon (Serves 4)

1 pound baby spinach, washed and drained

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced

4-5 pieces of bacon

Oil

Rice wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put squash on baking sheet and roast for about ½ hour, until soft and lightly browned. Cook the bacon and drain.

Place the spinach leaves in a bowl and crumble bacon on top. Add the warm squash and mix gently. Toss with oil and rice vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve with a fresh baguette and artisan cheeses such as Manchego, Morbier and Gouda.

Pumpkin Cranberry Tart (Adapted from Wolfgang Puck)

Cranberry Marmalade

4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 cinnamon stick

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

8 ounces fresh cranberries

Pumpkin-Spice Filling

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon clove

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly ground white pepper

4 eggs

1 cup cream

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

3 tablespoon bourbon

Sugar Dough

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll dough into circle and place in tart pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights. Bake for 10 minutes more.

Cranberry Marmalade

Mix sugar, water, orange zest, Grand Marnier, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and nutmeg in saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and stir in cranberries. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until berries turn soft. Cool. Remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Spread mixture on bottom of tart shell.

Pumpkin Filling

Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, spices, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, cream and bourbon and mix well. Pour into tart shell and bake for about 1 hour, until filling is firm.