Cooler nights call for easy and cozy comfort food. Oh, and booze. We can’t forget the booze.
Pumpkin and Sage Soup
For the sage and shitake garnish:
1/4 c. olive oil
3 large sweet onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large sage leaves, chopped
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated and peeled
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 qt. lower-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
3 15-oz. cans pure pumpkin
1 tbsp. lemon juice
For the sage and shiitake garnish:
1 in. oil
24 small sage leaves
7 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and very thinly sliced
In a 5-quart saucepot, heat oil on medium. Add onions and salt. Cook 40 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, sage, ginger and nutmeg. Cook 5 minutes or until garlic is golden, stirring occasionally. Add broth and pumpkin. Heat to simmering on high, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
With an immersion blender or in batches in a blender, puree soup until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Makes about 10 cups. Soup can be made and refrigerated up to two days ahead. Reheat on medium. (If soup is too thick, add water or broth for desired consistency. Season to taste.)
Step 3 (garnish):
In 2-quart saucepan, heat oil on high until hot but not smoking. Add sage leaves to oil. Fry 1 to 2 minutes or until leaves are browned, stirring occasionally. With slotted spoon, transfer to large paper-towel-lined plate; sprinkle with pinch of salt. In batches, add shiitake mushrooms to hot oil. Fry 2 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Transfer to same plate as sage; sprinkle with pinch of salt. Cool completely. Garnish can be made up to 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Courtesy of Good Housekeeping
Braised Chicken Thighs with Squash and Mustard Greens
4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 12), patted dry
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 scallions, white and pale green parts sliced into 1-inch pieces, dark parts thinly sliced
4 dried chiles de árbol
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 c. dry white wine
½ c. low-sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced ½ inch thick
1 bunch mustard greens, tough stems removed, leaves torn
2 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
Cooked white rice
Lightly season chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Working in 2 batches and pouring off all but 2 tablespoons of fat between batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is browned and crisp, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, placing skin side up (chicken will not be cooked through at this point).
Cook white and pale green parts of scallions, chiles and ginger in same pot, stirring often, until scallions and ginger are golden, about 3 minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and 1 cup broth and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Return chicken to pot, placing skin side up and overlapping if needed. Partially cover pot, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Add squash and remaining 1 cup broth to pot and push in squash so it’s mostly submerged. Arrange greens on top. Bring to a simmer, partially cover pot and cook until squash is barely fork tender and greens are wilted, 10-12 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium and continue to cook until liquid is reduced by about two-thirds and has the consistency of thin gravy, 10-15 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and drizzle vinegar over vegetables. Taste sauce; it should be plenty salty, but season with more salt if needed. Add chicken back to pot, turning to coat in sauce, then scatter dark green parts of scallions and sesame seeds over top. Serve with rice. Chicken can be braised two days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat covered on low.
Courtesy of Bon Appétit
Chocolate Bread Pudding
6 large slices day-old chocolate bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
unsalted butter (for pan)
6 large egg yolks
½ c. granulated sugar
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. powdered sugar (optional)
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (optional)
Softly whipped cream (optional)
Lightly butter a 2-quart baking dish and arrange bread in dish, making sure there are no gaps. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl, then whisk in granulated sugar; beat about 1 minute to lighten mixture. Whisk in heavy cream, milk, and vanilla extract.
Gently pour custard over bread. Place a heavy skillet or baking dish slightly smaller than the one you are using directly on top of bread to weigh down and refrigerate overnight. This allows the bread to fully absorb the custard – if you only have a few hours, that will suffice.
Preheat oven to 350º. Remove weight from pudding. Place baking dish in a large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up sides of baking dish and carefully transfer to oven. Bake until custard is set around the edges and slightly soft in the center, 40–50 minutes. Remove baking dish from water bath and let cool slightly.
Combine powdered sugar and cocoa, if using, in a small bowl. Transfer to a sieve and dust pudding just before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, if using.
Courtesy of Bon Appétit
2 oz. pear brandy
2 oz. pear nectar
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1 pear slice
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all of the remaining ingredients except the pear slice. Shake well, strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the pear slice.
Courtesy of Food and Wine