Cozy Fall Dinners
Happy weekend! I’m in Round Top, Texas, where there’s a cool front and the wind is blowing. This is the first day it feels like fall in Texas. We’re at our farm where I hope to host cooking retreats and classes soon. Although, this time to pause has given me space to dream and plan!
For the first part of the week, I’ll be in Round Top for the fall antique show. Can’t wait to explore some of my favorite vendors and spots to shop (Bader Ranch, The Compound, Courtney Barton’s new shop, Blue Hills, Arbors, Marburger Farm, etc!!).
I’m teaching an online class from my farm kitchen. We’re making my favorite kale Caesar and sheet pan chicken thighs. To make the Caesar, follow the recipe linked, but replace the romaine with lacinato kale. I like to remove the center stem and slice the leaves very thin.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Winter Squash
Substitute pre-chopped butternut squash or broccoli florets for the Delicata if you prefer; any 2-cup combination of in-season vegetables will work here as long as they fit in a single layer on your sheet pan. This is a slightly tweaked version of an Alison Roman recipe. Serves 8
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground onion
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 Delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into 1/4″ half moons (skin can remain on)
- 1 fennel bulb (about 1/2 pound), cut in half lengthwise, sliced into 1/2″ wedges with core removed
- ½ cup seedless red grapes
- 4 shallots, peeled and cut in quarters
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
- Optional additional garnish: Pomegranate seeds
Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Use the convection roast setting if you have it.
Mix cumin, paprika, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl. Toss squash, fennel, and shallots with oil and half of spice mixture on the sheet pan and arrange in a single layer.
Pat chicken skin dry with paper towels. Rub the skin with remaining spice mixture and arrange, skin side up, on top of vegetables. Roast until skin is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of chicken registers 165°F, about 45 minutes; if chicken skin or vegetables start to burn, move pan to a lower rack to finish cooking.
Divide chicken and vegetables among plates and top with mint and pomegranate seeds.
Butternut squash soup and collard green salad! You can make the soup with two smaller honey nut squashes or one butternut squash. The apple adds sweetness, but you can leave it out if you want a more savory soup. And don’t be afraid of the collard greens in this salad, they taste mild and sweet. But if you don’t trust me (no judgement), make the salad with arugula, spinach or kale!
In my cooking class today for a local garden club, we’re making baked brie with homemade Meyer lemon cranberry sauce, popovers with my favorite orange blossom honey butter. Add all of these to your Thanksgiving menu — so good! Dinner is super easy enchilada casserole (you can use rotisserie chicken or seasoned taco meat). We’ll have a mixed green salad with tangy super simple salad dressing on the side.
Parchment paper fish packets! Let everyone make their own packet with their toppings of choice. Make some sautéd greens on the side.
Spatchcocked chicken is such a fast dinner. Throw some veggies tossed with olive oil on the sheet pan. You can add carrots, quartered small potatoes, green beans or broccoli. For an extra touch of flavor, add some za’atar or dukkah to the chicken skin.
I love mushroom risotto (and I also love Martha Rose Shulman recipes!). If you want to keep it simple, make this Instant Pot parmesan risotto and serve veggies on the side.
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