Fall is the ultimate time for comforting soups and stews and delectable desserts with scent-sational ingredients that leave our homes feeling warm and cozy. Author Becky Libourel Diamond offers some of her favorite recipes for the season... we think you will 'fall' for them too.
White Bean, Barley and Vegetable Soup
Using a slow cooker to simmer vegetables, beans and grains combined with flavorful spices makes the house smell divine and eases dinnertime craziness, perfect for today's busy schedules when families sometimes cannot all eat together. This recipe is vegetarian, but feel free to add cooked diced bacon or sausage for the meat lovers in your household.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2/3 cup diced onion
- 2/3 cup diced carrots
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 11.5 ounce can V-8 or tomato juice
- 1 can cannelloni or navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1 cup fresh or frozen chopped spinach (or any other green)
- Few drops hot sauce (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan set over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the thyme, salt, pepper and paprika, allowing the spices the fully coat the vegetables. Cook for about 3 more minutes until soft, then remove from the heat.
- Transfer the vegetables to a slow cooker and add broth, juice, beans, barley and greens.
- Cook on low for 6 hours, then turn down to warm setting until ready to serve.
Right before serving, add a few drops of hot sauce for an extra kick if desired.
A fricassee is a kind of stew featuring chicken, veal, lamb, or fish that is first sautéed or fried, then smothered in a thickened white or brown stock. This cooking method was very popular in the 19th century, often as a way to tenderize tougher cuts of meat. However, this recipe calls for lobster, a dinner-party fixture on the tables of the uber-wealthy and influential during the Victorian era. Feel free to substitute shrimp or clams for the lobster if you wish.
- 2 large lobster tails
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- ½ box dry pasta
1. Add ½ teaspoon salt to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and add the lobster tails. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat. (You want to just parboil the tails since they will continue to cook when fricasseed).
2. Carefully remove the tails to a large cutting board with a pair of tongs. Drain water from pot, reserving one cup for later. Set aside.
3. Wipe out the pot and fill with water for pasta. While waiting for the water to boil, extract the lobster meat from the shells, chopping it into small pieces. Place the lobster meat in a medium bowl and season with cayenne, nutmeg and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
4. Transfer meat to a large saucepan set over medium heat and slowly add the cream and ½ cup of reserved lobster stock strained through a fine sieve. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow to boil. Stir in the beaten egg yolk and cook for another minute or two, stirring to combine. If sauce is too thick, add a little more lobster stock to thin it out. Cover and keep warm while spaghetti cooks.
5. Once pasta is done, divide between two large bowls. Ladle lobster fricassee over hot spaghetti. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Spice cookies are a tasty fall treat - delicious paired with hot or cold cider. A cookie jar staple throughout America dating back to colonial times, they can be seasoned with a variety of different spices, including nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. This recipe was taught by Philadelphia cooking instructor Elizabeth Goodfellow at her cooking school in the early 19th century. The name comes from the fact that they are roughly the size of a large walnut, not that they contain nuts as an ingredient.
- 3 cups flour
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup molasses
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup candied (crystallized) ginger, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the molasses and butter in a large saucepan over low heat. When the butter is melted, add sugar, spices, baking soda and candied ginger.
2. Stir until well mixed and then add the flour one cup at a time, stirring after each addition until a soft dough is formed.
3. Taking a softball-sized lump at a time, roll out onto a floured surface into a 1-inch-wide rope shape. If the dough is sticky, add flour a little at a time to make it easier to work with.
4. Cut the rope into 1-inch size pieces and place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for 12-13 minutes.
Becky Libourel Diamond is a food writer and research historian. She is the author of The Thousand Dollar Dinner and Mrs. Goodfellow: The Story of America's First Cooking School. Her current projects include Entertaining the Delmonico Way with fellow epicurean Max Tucci (to be published by Rizzoli in the Fall of 2022), The Gilded Age Cookbook and Process: The History of Processed Food (Westholme). She lives in Yardley, PA.