Seasonal Foods - September Recipes
As the summer months wind to an end, it's necessary for the aspiring chef to change his or her perspective on cooking to a new paradigm. Soon the days of cookouts and barbecued meats will be gone and the autumn will demand a new approach that takes advantage of the abundant fruits, vegetables and meats that are just beginning to come into season this month of September. Traditionally filling and spicy to combat the encroaching chill of winter, autumn cooking can incorporate some of the most hearty and satisfying dishes in a cook's repertoire, but only if he or she is willing to take a look around at what ingredients naturally complement the season and use them to the best advantage.
Here's a quick listing of some of the many foods that should begin to appear in markets this month as well as some ideas for how to prepare each. Good luck!
Appearing at their greatest abundance in the autumn months, trout make for an excellent seasonal dish in September. One of the most flavorful of all fresh-water fish, trout has a reputation for quality among diners that's well deserved. Whether you decide to enjoy it on its own, pan-fried with a few simple herbs as many recommend, or as the centerpiece of a more complex dish, you're guaranteed a memorable dining experience. Here's one idea for preparing fresh seasonal trout that might even put you in the mood to break out the pole and line:
- 2 Trout fillets
- Flour (to coat)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 oz. Butter
- 2 oz. Olive oil
- Salt and white pepper to taste
Salt and pepper the fillets to taste before dipping in milk and then dredging in flour to form an even thin coating.
Heat a mixture of oil and butter in a shallow pan and sauté the fish until lightly browned, turning once.
Once plated, a dash of lemon juice and generous drizzle of melted butter immediately before serving makes for a delicious garnish. Serves two.
Characterized by its dynamic coloring (bright red meat and snow white fat) that's owed to its advanced age, autumn lamb has a reputation as a more flavorful alternative to the potentially more tender spring lamb. As a result, it might require a little more creativity in preparation, but this seasonal favorite can yield up very impressive results that are well worth the time and effort. The following recipe should give you some pointers on how to approach autumn lamb to ensure the best results:
Lamb Medallions with Thyme and Garlic Crème
- 1 rack of lamb
- 10 cloves garlic
- 3 oz. Milk
- 3 oz. Fresh cream
- Fresh thyme
- Salt and white pepper to taste
Peel the garlic cloves and simmer in milk for several minutes before adding the fresh cream. Continue to cook at a low heat until the cloves are softened and then puree the entire mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the bones from the racks of lamb and then trim the fat until only lean meat remains. Allow the lamb to marinate overnight in a mixture of olive oil and thyme.
Season the marinated lamb with salt and pepper to your satisfaction and then brown on high heat in a mixture of oil and butter. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the lamb is medium rare.
For presentation, slice the lamb into thin medallions and then spoon the garlic cream sauce over top. Served with autumn vegetables, this makes an unforgettable seasonal meal.
Traditionally a fatty meat suited to roasting and bulky accompaniments, duck (along with the obvious candidate of turkey) is one of the flagship meats of the autumn season as it's both filling and somehow cultivates a sense of homeyness no matter how complex the recipe or preparation might become. In light of this, here's a recipe that goes especially well with another of the season's offerings, red apples:
Roast Duck with Autumn Apples
- 1 Duckling
- ½ lb seasonal apples
- 3 oz orange juice
- 1 qt brown stock
- 1 oz clarified butter
- 1 oz sugar
- Red wine vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Orange and lemon zest
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
Prepare the ducklings and then season them abundantly with salt and pepper. Place orange zest inside the cavity for taste and then truss shut.
In a roasting pan, brown the duckling and then finish in an oven set to 425 degrees F until the skin is crispy and brown.
Bring the red wine vinegar and sugar to a boil over high heat and cook until it begins to turn a light brown color. Add the orange and lemon juices and reduce before adding a goodly portion of brown stock. Heat to a boil and add the lemon and orange zests for flavor.
Discard the fat from the cooked duckling and then place on low heat with a separate portion of brown stock until a glaze begins to form.
Slice the apples thin and sauté them in the clarified butter, sprinkling with sugar to ensure that they properly caramelize.
Carve the duck and arrange artfully on a plate with the caramelized apple slices. Spoon the sauce over everything and serve immediately for a hearty autumnal treat.
Usually enjoyed raw, plums can be also be cooked as a way to draw out their innate spiciness that often gets overshadowed by sweetness in their natural state. Used in a wide range of recipes from jams and preserves to pies and even homemade wine, plums are one of the most versatile fruits of the season. Below is just one way you can utilize plums in your kitchen this season:
- 2lb plums
- 8oz sugar
- 8oz flour
- 1 egg
- 4oz buttermilk
- 3oz butter
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Salt for seasoning
In a broad but shallow baking pan, spread an even layer of sliced plums and sprinkle with half of the sugar needed for the whole recipe.
In a bowl, mix the butter, flour, baking powder, and the remaining sugar until a thick, lumpy mixture forms. Add the egg and buttermilk and mix to make a soft, pliable dough.
Tear off pinches of this dough and cover the entire area of the plums, leaving a little space between each pinch of the dough.
Bake at 375 until the crust is golden-brown. When an inserted toothpick comes out clean, you can be sure that the cobbler is finished. Because of the delicate nature of plums, be careful not to overcook this dish!
The tart taste of fresh blackberries lends itself to inclusion in a huge number of dishes. Powerful enough to make a fine jam, but also suited for eating raw or incorporating into baked goods like pies, blackberries make for a flavorful natural accompaniment to many of the meats that also come into season in September. Consider the following recipe for an idea on how to effectively use this potent fruit to your advantage:
Pork With Blackberry Sauce
- 2 pork fillets
- 1 tsp honey for glazing
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- Any red wine for flavoring
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Season the pork with salt and pepper to your liking and then lightly glaze with honey before browning in a saucepan. Finish cooking until done in the oven.
Place the blackberries, red wine, milk and sugar into a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Blend until smooth and then spoon over the finished pork fillets immediately before serving. Serves two.
September Sweetcorn Cooking
Appearing in the late summer months, sweetcorn is a variant on traditional corn that offers a more plump, flavorful and sweet kernel if eaten soon after it is picked. Good for use in a number of dishes where a dash of subtle sweetness is needed to bring a menu together, sweetcorn's unique flavor truly sets the mood for the approaching autumn. Here's an idea for a simple recipe involving fresh sweetcorn that's bound to please:
(Proportion the ingredients according to personal taste)
- 5 oz cream
- 7 oz chicken stock
- Red and black pepper to taste
In a saucepan cook the onions until soft, and then add the sweetcorn, onion, and chicken stock. Season with black pepper to taste and then continue to simmer for several minutes before adding the cream and stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Add parsley and pepper to your liking.
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