If you asked a room full of chefs their very favorite season to cook, you could expect a variety of answers. What you can bet they’d all agree on, however, is that modern food is tied to season and region, more than anything.
Seasons drive cuisine both with a changing bounty of available meats and produce, but also through mood, by way of weather and cultural touchstones. Autumn has as tangible a mood as any and when October turns our collars up, chefs in turn reach for hearty stews and starches, like squash and pumpkin. Fall spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves conjure a warmth of their own and eventually we trade the char of the grill for rich sauces and caramelization born of roasting and braising.
In honor of the season, we rounded up 10 of our favorite fall recipes from some of the most revered chefs from around the globe and spanning generations. From Julia’s iconic Beef Bourguignon to Marcus Samuelsson’s gourd-geous spin on Latin street food, we’re hoping you fall for at least a few of these awesomely autumn recipes.
Apple sales go through the roof come fall and we’re not talking about the latest iPhone release. We trust the New York-born Barefoot Contessa with anything apple related, and this classic French tart is a decadent way to use the haul from your recent, overly-Instagrammed orchard adventure. It calls for Calvados, an apple brandy found in most liquor stores, but traditional brandy will surely suffice. Get the recipe.
The death of Anthony Bourdain was a huge loss to the not only the culinary world, the culture at large. But you can celebrate his legacy with this hearty recipe. Bourdain cites a jealousy in youth of well-fed Italian friends as inspiration for this “I’ll show them” Sunday Gravy. A stick to your ribs recipe, this one is full of flavor but not shortcuts, which is why it may truly be best saved for a Sunday. Get the recipe.
Fall foods, like any, are about balance and this apple butternut squash soup from the mind of self-made billionaire and brand-unto-herself, Martha Stewart, is just that. The tartness from the apple and mildness of the squash blend to create the perfect canvas for warm fall spices. It’s a good thing. Get the recipe.
Daniel Boulud turned his humble French farmhouse beginnings into an American empire, with over fifteen restaurants and countless awards. Chef Boulud’s Autumn update on Scallop Rosette trades spaghetti squash for pasta, tossed with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. A sure-to-impress for your next dinner party. Get the recipe.
Iconic. Transcendent. Damn delicious. Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon is another one best left for a slow-moving Sunday but worth every single second you will spend on it. Beyond patience, getting a good brown on the meat will be essential for success. The stew goes through a heavenly metamorphosis as it cooks and when reheated the next day, is somehow better still. One of my absolute all-time favorite things to make (and eat). C’est bon! Get the recipe.
Marcus Samuelsson has made a name (and small fortune) fusing the many diverse cultures of his upbringing (Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised) through to his adult home in Harlem where he helped usher in a fusion-based culinary renaissance. If you’re above 110th street in Manhattan, listen to him recall the neighborhood’s rich history via a Samuelsson-narrated audio walking tour, “Savoring Harlem” (via the Detour app) which ends at his popular restaurant, Red Rooster. Pray they have these pumpkin cinnamon empanadas on the ever-changing menu; otherwise, follow his recipe! Get the recipe.
Alice Waters is credited by most for starting the farm-to-table movement when she opened her now iconic Berkley outpost Chez Panisse in 1971. This sultry Potato Gratin recipe would be a welcome partner for any fall roast and can be found in Waters’ Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook, which elevates simplicity and freshness of ingredient over anything. Get the recipe.
Another modern pioneer, Spanish-born José Andrés, was integral to the now ubiquitous small plates concept and has been lauded as a fervent humanitarian to boot. In this, one of Andrés’ self-proclaimed favorite holiday dishes, dried apricots, walnuts, and other fall foods take a classic pork roast to unexpected places. Get the recipe.
Lidia Bastianich, a.k.a. America’s adopted Italian grandmother, has been dropping into our living rooms via cooking shows on PBS for nearly 20 years. Though not necessarily Italian itself, this simple apple and carrot salad with bright orange juice and parsley can be served as an elegant side or as the base for fall stuffings and slaws. Get the recipe.
Finally, when he’s not screaming at unsuspecting amateur chefs, Gordon Ramsey is quietly churning some of the most inventive food on this, or any side, of the pond. This roasted squash hummus, featuring nearly ALL of the fall spices, is autumn incarnate and if you’ve already cycled through Sabra’s flavors several hundred times, will be a welcomed addition. Get the recipe.
Related Video: Festive Fall Salad
Header image courtesy of Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle.