A lesson on autumn comfort food
Come fall, you glance out the kitchen window to see the first dusting of snow blanketing the mountains.Christmas lights appear on the pines along valley roads, and ice skaters glide across the outdoor rink. This scene is vaguely familiar. And then it hits you: You are living in that Christmas village your mom decorated the fireplace mantle with during the holidays.Come fall, you crave the steam rising from a cup of hot chocolate. Pumpkin pie calls to you, and comfort food has a renewed allure.When it starts to get colder, you want those richer, warmer flavors, said Jenna Johansen, executive chef of Dish! restaurant in Edwards.We asked four local chefs to share their favorite fall recipes so you can enjoy the finest comfort food in the valley.
Juan Anon, executive chef at The French Press in Edwards, chose this rack of Colorado lamb (which will be on the winter menu at French Press) as his favorite fall plate. He used to make a similar lamb dish while he was living in France, he said.Its the same procedure, but I put it with our Colorado lamb. I just love this dish; its very rich. And I use locally grown squashes.Anon uses Andalusian sausage to flavor the polenta cakes, but sometimes that particular sausage only can be found at specialty stores. Dont worry, though, Anon says you can mix Italian sausage with spicy chorizo and youre pretty much on the money.Rack of Colorado Lamb From Juan Anon, executive chef at the French Press in Edwards.Served with plum-amaretto demi-glaze and Andalusian sausage polenta over a bed of ratatouille.Serves 4.2 racks (or 16 bones) of Colorado lambSauce1 cup sun-dried pitted plums, chopped1 cup amaretto liquor1 cup minced shallots1 teaspoon minced garlic1 cup demi-glaze (they sell a dried powder in the supermarket)Salt and pepper and fresh thyme to tastePolenta3 cups polenta (dry)2 cups chicken stock1 cup cream1 small onion, diced2 Andalusian sausages (one chorizo and one Italian sausage can be substituted)Salt and pepper and fresh thyme to tasteRatatouile1 yellow squash1 zucchini1 red bell pepper1 eggplant1⁄2 yellow onion1 cup of tomato puree2 tablespoons of butter salt and pepper and fresh thyme to tasteFor sauce: Sweat shallots and minced garlic, deglaze the pan with amaretto
When an autumn chill rolls into the valley, some fish become scarce. Tuna is one of the few scaley delicacies available year round, which made it an obvious choice for fall cooking.Janine Glennon, owner of Vista at Arrowhead in Edwards, says her fall pick combines seared yellowfin tuna with red curry mashed potatoes, baby bok choy and a soy glaze. The curry mashed potatoes make it homey and warm, she said.Yellowfin Tuna from Janine Glennon, owner of Vista at Arrowhead in EdwardsSeared rare, with red curry mashed potatoes, baby bok choy and soy glazeServes 4. Ingredients:Four pieces of Yellowfin tuna. Each 5-ounce portion should be cut to resemble a large cube. Each square should measure roughly 2 inches by 2 inches and be 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.3 – 4 heads of baby bok choy (regular bok choy can be substituted if you cant find baby)3 – 4 large russet potatoes (peeled and quartered and cooked in salted boiling water for the mashed potatoes)1 tablespoon of red curry paste1 cup of whole milk for the mashed potatoes3 ounces of sesame oil for cooking the tuna4 ounces soy sauce4 ounces sweet Thai Chile sauce 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root1 tablespoon finely minced garlic2 tablespoons chopped cilantropickled gingerprepared wasabiblack sesame seeds Preparation:For the potatoes: Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are tender and can be broken apart with a fork. Drain the water from the potatoes and place them in a bowl or the bowl of your mixer. Add the milk a little at a time and mix on low speed until the potatoes are at the consistency that you would like. When the mashed potatoes are smooth and creamy you can start adding the red curry paste. Add it a little at a time. The spice can really creep up on you if you add too much at once. Note: You can always add more but once you have added it, you cant take it out. Taste the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper if needed. Cover and place in a warm place until you are ready to plate and serve the meal.For the sauce: Place the soy sauce, sweet Thai Chile sauce, minced ginger, minced garlic, and chopped cilantro in a bowl and combine. Set the sauce aside and keep at room temperature until you serve the tuna. This sauce will keep up to two weeks covered in the refrigerator.For the bok choy: Heat a saut pan to medium high on the stove top, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sesame oil to the pan and add the washed baby bok choy to the pan. Note: after the bok choy has been washed, it is important to try to dry it as well as possible. If any of the water from the bok choy hits the hot oil, it will splatter and can be very dangerous. Cook the bok choy in the pan until it is wilted, then season with salt and pepper and set aside. The cooking of the bok choy only takes about 2 minutes.For the fish: Searing the tuna is next and should be done right before you serve the meal. The best pan to use is a cast iron or heavy-bottomed saut pan.
Jenna Johansen, executive chef of Dish Restaurant in Edwards, picked this butternut squash soup as her seasonal favorite because its easy to make and it lets the flavors of fall totally shine.Most autumn foods are packed with butter and cream, but this milk-based soup is uncharacteristically light, she said.Its still hearty and comforting but its not really fattening, Johansen said.To give the recipe a local edge, she uses squash from area farmers.I tend to crave and serve things that are naturally in season because internally thats what your body wants, Johansen said.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup from Jenna Johansen, executive chef and owner of Dish restaurant in Edwards.Provides three to four hearty meal portions or eight sides.Ingredients2 1/2 butternut squash1 white onion, diced3 garlic cloves1/4 cup dry white wine or champagne2 cups vegetable or chicken stockkosher salt and pepper to taste1 1/2 cups milk, whole, organicA pinch of ground gingerA pinch of cayenneA pinch of nutmeg1 tablespoon butter, unsalted or extra virgin olive oil.Preparation:Cut and seed squash. Place in pan cut side down with a touch of water. Cook at 350 degrees until soft (about an hour). Cool slightly, clean insides from squash and discard skins. Saute onions and garlic in a bit of butter or extra virgin olive oil. Add wine when onions are translucent. Reduce by half. Add roasted squash. Heat through. Add stock and milk. Heat to simmer. Puree until smooth in blender, food processor or with immersion blender. Season to taste. Serve warm.
Rafael Fernandez, chef at Vendettas in Vail, crowned this mahi mahi dish his fall pick. The spicy sauce is a nice contrast to the white, light fish. Chipotle sour cream, dijon mustard and cream sauce make this a firey dish youll want to cozy up to.Mahi MahiSource: Rafael Fernandez, executive chef and owner of Vendettas in Vail.Serves one.Ingredients7 ounces of mahi mahiOne handful of arugulaSauce1 teaspoon chipotle sour cream (available at Carniceria Tepic in Avon, or specialty Mexican food stores in Denver)1 teaspoon dijon mustard1/2 cup creamPreparationFor the fish: Saute the fish in olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan for two minutes. Bake the fish in the oven at 450-degrees for 10 minutes.Serve over sauteed arugula. Heat the arugula in a saute pan with olive oil over medium heat for one minute.For the sauce: Pour cream in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the chipotle sour cream and dijon mustard right away. Cook until it thickens (usually three minutes). Pour the sauce over the fish.