The leaves are starting to change, and so is the selection of produce at your grocery store and farmers’ market. While the turn of the season means having to say goodbye to fruits like raspberries, blueberries, and peaches, the arrival of fall brings a new crop of delicious fruits. Some, like apples and pears, are available year-round but are in top form during the cooler months. Others, like pomegranates and cranberries, are hard (and sometimes impossible) to find other times of the year. Many of these fruits shine in desserts and as snacks, but that’s hardly the only way to prepare them. To get the most out of your harvest, try one of these recipes for delicious dinners featuring fall fruit.
1. Pan-Seared Sausage with Lady Apples and Watercress
Apples are probably the first thing that springs to mind when you think of fall fruits. They’re perfect in desserts and on their own, but apples also shine in savory dishes, like this one-pan dish of sausage, apples, and watercress. This recipe from Bon Appétit serves 4.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lady apples, halved through stem ends
- 1½ pounds sweet Italian sausages
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 bunch watercress, trimmed (about 6 cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Heat oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples, cut side down, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
Prick sausages with a fork, add to skillet with apples, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add wine and vinegar to skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened (liquid should coat a spoon), about 4 minutes. Add watercress and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper.
Serve with pan juices spooned over.
2. Crispy Flounder with Pears, Endive, and Meyer Lemon
Meats like pork and beef often take on a starring role in fall dishes. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter that still incorporates the flavors of the season, try this crispy fried flounder with fresh fall pears. If you can’t find Meyer lemons for this recipe, substitute regular ones, though they will make the dish more tart. Recipe from Fine Cooking.
- 2 small Meyer lemons
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium Belgian endives, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
- 3 medium firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced lengthwise ½-inch thick
- Kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon thinly sliced chives; more for garnish
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup fine-ground cornmeal
- 4 small flounder or sole fillets (about 1½ pounds)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
Directions: Finely grate 2 teaspoons of zest from one of the lemons. Squeeze 1½ lemons to yield 2 tablespoons of juice. Thinly slice the remaining half and cut each slice into quarters; set aside.
In a 10- to 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until foamy. Add the endives, pears, lemon juice, lemon zest, and ½ teaspoon salt; stir to combine. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the endives and pears are lightly browned in places, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chives.
While the endives and pears cook, combine the flour and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper and then dredge it in the cornmeal mixture. Heat ½ tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook two of the fillets, flipping once, until golden-brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with another ½ tablespoon butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and fillets. Transfer to the plate with the other fish. Wipe out the skillet again.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the pan until melted and browned and then stir in the lemon slices and a pinch of salt. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the pear mixture among four dinner plates and top with a fillet. Spoon the lemon pan sauce over the fish, garnish with chives, and serve.
3. Asian-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries
If cranberries only make an appearance on your dinner table at Thanksgiving, you’re missing out. These tart fall fruits can be enjoyed throughout the season, and not just in their familiar cranberry sauce form. This recipe from Coastal Living pairs them with another seasonal favorite, Brussels sprouts, for a tasty side dish.
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place Brussels sprouts in a 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan; drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, and toss to coat. Arrange sprouts on pan, cut sides down, and bake 30 minutes or until tender and browned.
Meanwhile, bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Stir in cranberries, and let stand 10 minutes.
Whisk together fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large bowl. Stir in cranberry mixture.
Add roasted Brussels sprouts to cranberry mixture. Toss to coat, then serve.
4. Pizza with Fresh Figs, Ricotta, Thyme, and Honey
You can, and should, enjoy fresh figs on their own, but you can also incorporate this fruit into various dinner dishes, such as this pizza from Whole Living, which is made with figs, ricotta, thyme, and honey. The fruit is in season through early fall, and it’s highly perishable; you should eat your figs within one or two days of buying them.
- Whole-wheat pizza dough
- ¼ cup fresh ricotta cheese
- Fresh thyme, chopped
- 3 sliced fresh figs
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
Directions: Place pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on rack in top third of oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Transfer stretched dough to parchment.
Dot dough with ricotta cheese. Top with thyme and figs. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil.
Transfer to oven: Slide parchment onto stone or baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and bottom is crisp. Drizzle with honey. Serve.
5. Tunisian Lamb and Quince Stew
Quince can be hard to find in the store, but if you manage to track some down, consider using it to make this Tunisian lamb stew. The fruit, which looks a bit like a pear, is very hard and nearly inedible when raw. When it’s slow-cooked in this stew, however, it has a sweet-and-sour flavor that’s complemented by the chilies, saffron, cinnamon, and other spices. The stew tastes best a day after you make it, once the flavors have had the time to meld. Recipe from Chowhound.
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 3 dried arbol chiles, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 3-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon crushed saffron
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 pounds quince (about 6)
- 2 tablespoons honey
Directions: Toast the coriander and caraway seeds in a small, dry frying pan over medium-low heat until the seeds release their aroma and darken slightly, about 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool at least 5 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a resealable plastic bag and pound them with a rolling pin or meat mallet until coarsely crushed but not pulverized.
In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the crushed seeds with the garlic, chiles, paprika, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir, then add the lamb and toss until the meat is well coated. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.
Take the meat out of the refrigerator and transfer to a large plate or baking sheet, reserving the garlic from the marinade. Season the meat well with salt and pepper and let it sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.
When the lamb is ready, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the lamb in batches to prevent overcrowding and cook until a dark brown crust has formed on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Once the lamb is browned, remove to a plate and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the oil.
Add the onions, tomato paste, cinnamon stick, reserved garlic, and saffron to the remaining oil in the pot and sauté over medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan and continue cooking until the onions begin to caramelize and soften, about 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Return the lamb to the pot and add the broth. Cook, covered, at a gentle simmer for 1½ hours.
Once the lamb is almost knife tender, prepare the quince by running them under cold water to rub any fuzz off the skin. Cut each quince into 8 wedges, remove the cores, and add them to the stew. Stir in the honey and cook until the lamb and quince are tender but not falling apart, about 1 hour. To test that the lamb is done, remove a piece from the pot and set it on a clean plate. Press it with your thumb or the back of a spoon. If it yields easily and almost falls apart, it is done; if it resists pressure, return it to the pot and continue cooking.
When the lamb is ready, taste the stew for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Serve with couscous, farro, or steamed rice and harissa.
6. Braised Pot Roast with Pomegranates
Pomegranates are in season in the fall and winter. You can sprinkle the brightly colored seeds on a salad or stir them into your yogurt, but that’s hardly the only way to use this fruit. In this recipe from The New York Times, a humble pot roast is livened up with the addition of the juicy red seeds.
- 6 garlic cloves
- 15 fresh sage leaves or 2 tablespoons dry sage
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 6 pounds lean brisket of beef
- 2 garlic cloves, slivered
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pomegranates or 2 pounds small seedless grapes
- Parsley for garnish
Directions: Place the garlic cloves, sage, six tablespoons of oil, the vinegar, lemon juice, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper in a food processor. Process until all the ingredients are finely chopped.
Place the meat in a roasting pan. With a knife make several incisions in the meat and insert the slivers of garlic. Then pour the marinade over the meat. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a pan large enough to hold the meat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion and sauté them until they are lightly golden. Remove the meat from the marinade and brown on all sides over high heat. Then add the marinade, chicken stock, two cups of water, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for two and one-half hours or until the meat is easily pierced with a fork. Remove the meat from the pan and cool.
Meanwhile, degrease the sauce. Then cut the pomegranates in two and remove the seeds. Add the seeds to the meat sauce.
Slice the meat and return to the saucepan. Reheat gently.
With a spatula, remove the meat to a large platter. Pour some sauce with pomegranate over the meat. Garnish with parsley and serve the remaining sauce in a gravy boat.
7. Chile Relleno en Nogada
Pomegranate seeds also play a starring role in chiles en nogada, a dish made of poblano chiles stuffed with a mix of ground beef, currants, almonds, and cilantro, and then topped with a creamy walnut sauce and fresh pomegranate seeds. This recipe is from Food Network.
- 6 poblano peppers
For the nogada sauce
- ½ cup goat cheese
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup small diced white bread
- 1½ cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the filling
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup white onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium ripe tomato, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly minced cilantro leaves
- 1 pound ground beef
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup cooked diced potato
- 2 tablespoons dried black currants
- 2 tablespoons toasted sliced blanched almonds
For the garnish
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley leaves
Directions: Prepare the poblano peppers by heating a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Add the poblanos, and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until the skin is blackened and blistered on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes depending of the size of the poblanos.
Remove from the griddle as they are done and place in a plastic bag, let sit for 5 minutes, until the skins are soft enough to be easily removed.
Remove the poblanos from the bag, and using your fingers and a small sharp knife, peel and scrape off as much of the blackened skin as possible. Leave the tops on and cut small lengthwise slits in the polios and carefully pull out the seeds without tearing the flesh.
To make the nogada, add all the sauce ingredients to a blender and process until thoroughly puréed. Set aside at room temperature or keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
To prepare the filling, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-heat in a medium-size skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often.
Add the tomato and cilantro and cook for another minute. Add the meat and cook stirring, until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Add the potatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the black currants and the almonds. Remove from the heat.
Carefully stuff the mixture into the chiles through the slit, taking care not to rip the chiles. Transfer the stuffed poblanos to a serving platter. Cover with the walnut sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
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