It’s a shame about autumn being in the unfortunate position to herald the coming of winter… otherwise it might be my favorite time of year. A mix of sunny days and crisp breezes, a festival of changing leaves, spice-filled cookery, warm and cozy sweaters. Where do I find a place with spring, summer and fall, but no winter? Does it exist somewhere in the United States? Please point me to it and I’ll make it my goal to move there.
In celebration of the current autumnal atmosphere, I recently reprized two favorite recipes. The first is a quick and easy way to enjoy hot apple cider.
HOT-BUTTERED APPLE CIDER
1 quart apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
Combine the spices and cider in a saucepan. Heat over low fire, allowing the cider to warm without boiling and letting the flavors meld. Stir hear and there as it warms. Butter can be added now or reserved for individual serving (in which case you want to float a thin pat of butter on top of the hot cider in its individual mug). A shot of bourbon is also a nice addition to this beverage; add per serving to taste, but stir it in before adding the butter, if you’re taking the individual float approach.
Second of my autumnal delights is sweet potato & pear soup, a hearty pureed soup that is easy to make and incorporates so many flavors of autumn:
SWEET POTATO & PEAR SOUP
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 (1 lb.) cans of sweet potatoes, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can of pears, drained
2 cups broth or bouillon
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup sherry wine
salt and pepper, to taste
Saute the onions and in the butter over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add sugar and spices and saute a few minutes longer.
Add sweet potatoes, pears, broth, and milk. Simmer for about 10 more minutes.
Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Process until smooth. Return to original pan, if using a food processor, and stir in sherry and coconut milk. Heat until warm.