The Main Menu: Use seasonal fruits and veggies for a scrumptious fall feast

A curried parsnip soup is among the fall recipes being served by Jan Main in this edition of The Main Menu.


At my most recent and l believe last patio luncheon (luncheon rather than dinner because it is warmer at one in the afternoon than six in the evening and lighter too, especially near the lake, without a propane heater) my guests Judy Rauliuk brought an enticing curried parsnip soup and Nicole Descoteaux, a yummy arugula, apple and stilton salad.

Both dishes were scrumptious. With their permission, I include them here for your enjoyment.

They are good served with roast chicken, salmon or grilled sausages or simply served on their own with a tasty bread. I served homemade cheese scones and salmon with dill sauce. However, the soup and salad could be served on their own for lunch or a simple supper.

These recipes are quickly prepared, feature seasonal fruit and veggies but best of all, they have the wonderful taste of fall.

Curried Parsnip Soup

Parsnips have a slightly sweet, nutty taste and are a perfect autumn vegetable either pureed in a soup or roasted to serve with a main course.

This soup is soothing, perfect for a blustery day.

Judy served this garnished with croutons and sprigs of chives. You could also substitute a dollop or yogurt or sour cream as the garnish.

2 tbsp (25 ml) butter
2 lbs (1 Kg) / 4 cups parsnips, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 cup (250 mL) chopped red or cooking or Vidalia onion
1 tbsp (15 mL) curry powder or curry paste (Judy uses Bolst’s)
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated gingerroot
6 cups (1 1/2 L) chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Using saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Cook the onions and parsnips in butter, stirring to coat in butter about 2 minutes.
Stir in curry and ginger; cook about 1 minute.

Stir in chicken stock; bring to boil and simmer on medium low about 15 minutes or until parsnips are very tender.

Puree mixture in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to saucepan and heat through. Taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6-8 servings. Serve immediately or freeze for up to 2 months. Recipe may be doubled.

Arugula Salad with Apples and Stilton and Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

Sweet, tangy and crunchy- this salad has it all!

Make the most of our fresh autumn apples and serve your favourite type, polished, cored and thinly sliced to showcase it in this flavourful salad.

If you wish to make the salad a more sustaining main course, rather than an accompaniment, add one or two hard cooked eggs.

6 cups (1 1/2 L) arugula
1 head Belgian endive
1/2 cup (125 mL) Stilton or Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted walnut halves
1-2 apples, cored and thinly sliced

Maple Mustard Dressing

1/3 cup (75 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) cider vinegar
2 tbsp (25 mL) maple syrup
2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper

Salad: On 4 to 6 individual serving plates, arrange a generous handful of arugula; top each with 2 Belgian endive spears, sliced, a sprinkle of cheese and nuts and arrange apple slices on top.
Vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together oil, cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Drizzle over enough vinaigrette to lightly coat leaves. Makes about ½ cup (125 mL).

Baked Chicken with Maple Mustard Dressing

I have also used the vinaigrette as a zippy marinade for chicken thighs. A perfect, fast main course and a great accompaniment to the salad.

8 skinless chicken thighs (if skins are on, they remove easily)

Maple Mustard vinaigrette

Arrange chicken in parchment paper lined baking dish; drizzle with vinaigrette; bake in pre-heated oven at 350 (180 F) for 35 minutes for a quick, complete dinner. Makes 4 servings.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

These spicy mouthfuls have all the flavour of pumpkin pie but are shaped into muffins.

Perfect for serving with breakfast, soup or as a Halloween treat.

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) raisins or walnuts or mixture
3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) each, cinnamon and ginger
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) each, salt, nutmeg and cloves
1 egg
1 1/2 cup (375 mL) pumpkin puree
1/3 cup (75 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (120 mL) milk

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Line 12 muffins with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, raisins, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg and cloves. In separate bowl, whisk together egg, pumpkin puree, oil and milk.

Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients. Stir together until just moistened.

Spoon batter to the top of prepared muffin cups. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden and firm to the touch.

Cool on rack. Makes 12 large muffins.

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