5 seasonal dishes to usher in the autumn


The golden leaves of autumn not only mark a change in the weather, but also a change in our eating habits. With more seasonal produce appearing in the greengrocers, and the cooler temperatures making us crave rich, hearty meals, we tend to begin to move away from fresh salads and towards something a little more substantial.

From the subtle sweetness of a hearty butternut squash dish to the comforting warmth of a fruit crumble, autumn calls for richness and depth of flavour. So, as the seasons turn, we’ve rounded up five dishes to inspire your culinary endeavours. 

Butternut squash, spinach and goat’s cheese pie

When you’ve just returned home from an afternoon stroll through the countryside, you’ll no doubt be ravenous and craving a generous meal. Surely a richly-filled, golden-crusted pie is going to be high on your list of options, especially if you need to warm up as well! Try combining spinach and goat’s cheese, with some seasonal butternut squash to serve up something a little different from the usual pie fillings. Some roasties and buttered greens make for perfect companions to complete this comforting autumnal feast.

Wild mushroom stroganoff with polenta

Originally an 18th century Russian dish, stroganoff has taken on a life of its own and is now served in various forms all around the globe. If you can get hold of wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, porcini or morels, they will lift this dish with their intensely unique flavour, but large portobello mushrooms are also a great alternative. For the stroganoff, simply fry onions, garlic and paprika before adding the mushrooms. Then add vegetable stock and simmer for 5 minutes before finishing off by stirring in soured cream and garnishing with parsley. Serve with wild rice for extra texture and flavour.

Moules marinière

The peak season for fresh mussels is October to March, so the autumn months are the perfect time to enjoy these seafood delights. When cooking with fresh mussels, give their shells a good scrub, then tap them firmly on your worktop. If they don’t close when tapped, discard them. For the classic French method of serving mussels, fry some onion, garlic and thyme, then add the mussels and white wine before steaming for 3-4 minutes. Discard any closed shells, add chopped parsley and cream then serve with crusty bread and garnishing with parsley. Serve with wild rice for extra texture and flavour.

Slow-roast pork belly with mustard mash

Indulgent, comforting meals don’t come much better than a slow roast belly of pork with crispy crackling. To ensure the meat is succulent and tender, in a foil-lined tray, lay the meat on a bed of sliced onions and apples, then tuck the foil in so that it encloses the sides but doesn’t cover the rind. This will ensure the meat sits in the juices, but the rind crisps up properly. Cook for around three hours at 150°C then for one hour at 140°C before cranking up to 220°C for the last 20 minutes to crisp the crackling. For the mash, boil peeled potatoes until tender then drain and return to a very low heat for a couple of minutes to ensure they’re dry. Mash with butter, milk, salt, pepper and wholegrain mustard for the perfect homely accompaniment.

Apple and blackberry crumble

Blackberries are synonymous with autumn, with September being the most fruitful harvesting month. If there’s bramble near your home, you could even go out and pick the blackberries yourself. One of the blackberry’s most complementary fruits is apple, and the two combine fantastically when baked in a crumble. Simply start off by layering slices of apple with blackberries and adding sugar and cinnamon. Then for the crumble topping, pour flour and cinnamon into a bowl then stir in sugar and oats. Cut butter into small cubes, then rub the mixture between your finger tips until it forms the texture of breadcrumbs. Bake for around 40 minutes until the crumble is golden and serve with ice cream, cream or custard!

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