autumn supper club
We created an early fall menu that we just know you are going to love! Think of it as pre-gaming for Thanksgiving, taking advantage of the last pleasant weather days left in 2018, or whatever reason you need to rationalize eating the insane amount of cheese we are about to throw at you.
We started this meal off with an autumnal cheese board, baked brie & figs, white bean ricotta & caramelized leek crostini, and sparkling wine. Next we had a delicious pear & kale salad, butternut squash bread pudding, cauliflower mash, wilted radicchio and fennel salad, and slow-roasted pork with fennel & plums. We paired it all with a light-bodied Beaujolais and a fruit-forward Syrah.
We all agreed this was our favorite Supper Club yet!
Autumn Cheese Board
Taking advantage of all the lovely fall fruits is what this appetizer is all about. We started with Manchego, a funky blue cheese, and an herbed goat cheese. Gruyere, Comte, Gorgonzola, or a nutty Gouda would all be good additions or substitutions. From there, we added two different types of crackers, crunchy sesame honey almonds, truffle Marcona almonds (from Trader Joe’s), and a habanero raspberry jam. We sliced up figs, persimmons, apples, plums, and pomegranate to finish up the board. You could also add dried fruit like cranberries, cherries, or apricots, but we ran out of space!
This cheese board was meatless, but adding prosciutto would be delicious.
White Bean Ricotta & Caramelized Leek Crostini
1 French baguette, sliced into rounds about 1/4 inch thick
1 can of white beans (aka Cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
1/3 cup of ricotta
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1-2 sprigs of thyme
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper to taste
1 leek, cut thinly into rounds
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 375°. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and arrange them on a baking sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add in sliced leeks, season with a pinch of salt, stir for about 2 minutes, or until they start to brown. Turn heat down to medium-low, and stir occasionally until leeks are golden brown and caramelized. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, combine white beans (saving a few whole beans for garnish), ricotta, 1 T olive oil, chopped thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mash the beans with a fork.
Spread mashed white bean & ricotta mixture on baguette, top with caramelized leeks, sprinkle chopped pecans on top, and serve.
Pear & Kale salad with Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette
2 bunches lacinato kale -stems removed and leaves ribboned
1 pound brussels sprouts thinly sliced
1 apple or pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
6-8 figs, sliced
1/4 cup pepitas
2 T chia seeds
sprinkle of cinnamon
squeeze of lemon
dash of kosher salt
4 T olive oil
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 t maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t salt
Toss together all the salad ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together.
Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, mix, and serve immediately.
Wilted Radicchio & Fennel Salad
Radicchio is a bitter vegetable in the chicory family that resembles cabbage. It is a great addition to this meal, and pairs well with the sweetness in the slow-roasted pork.
1 head of radicchio, washed and layers torn apart
1 small fennel bulb (or 1/2 large bulb), thinly sliced
fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
Heat 1 T of olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add in fennel, and sauté until fennel softens and gets some color.
Add in radicchio, salt & pepper, and sauté just until wilted. Remove from heat.
Give a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a little more olive oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle on pistachios. Serve immediately.
Butternut Squash Bread Pudding
This is probably one of the best autumn side dishes in history. It is really rich and filling, and served as a great main dish for our vegetarian friends.
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 T olive oil, divided
8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups half and half
6 dry white wine (or chicken/vegetable broth)
1 1/2 t dijon mustard
1 day old baguette or crusty bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (makes about 10 cups)
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
1 large leek (white and pale green parts only, sliced thinly)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T fresh sage, chopped
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
Heat oven @ 400 degrees
Toss squash in 1 T olive oil on rimmed baking sheet. sprinkle with coarse salt and bake until tender - 20 to 25 minutes.
Whisk eggs in large bowl, add half and half, wine (or broth), and 1.5 t coarse salt and whisk together. Add bread pieces, coating with egg mixture. Let sit 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Heat 2 T olive oil in large pan over med high heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt, saute until soft, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add garlic cloves and saute 2 more minutes. Add kale, cover and cook about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still green, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add in fresh sage, thyme and cranberries.
Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
Generously butter a 13x9x2 baking dish. Transfer half of bread from egg mixture to baking dish. Spoon half of kale mixture over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale, sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread mixture, kale, squash and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over pudding.
Cover with foil. bake 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake for about 20 minutes uncovered (custard should be set).
Raise oven temp to broil - broil bread pudding until cheese browns slightly (about 2-3 minutes). Cool 5 minutes and serve.
Cauliflower & Thyme Mash
This recipe was inspired by this recipe on Once Upon a Chef, and we changed very little. It is so tasty, and a perfect lower carb alternative to mashed potatoes.
1 head of cauliflower, rinsed and chopped into florets
1 cup of chicken broth
3 sprigs of thyme, chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan
In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil. Add the cauliflower; bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and steam for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is very tender.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of chicken broth from the pot, along with the butter and garlic. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add thyme and parmesan and process until just combined.
Fennel & Plum Slow-Roasted Pork
This recipe was inspired by Alison Roman’s delicious slow-roasted pork from the Dining In cookbook. Do yourself a favor, get on Amazon right now, purchase her cookbook, cook everything, and enjoy your new & improved life. We took the basics of her pork recipe, and adjusted it to fit our fall flavor profile.
one 3lb pork shoulder
1 T veggie oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, whole
4 plums, cut in half
1 lemon, cut in half
1 T date syrup (can sub in pomegranate molasses or honey)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1-2 cups water
3 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Pat pork shoulder dry. Season generously with salt & pepper.
Get a large, heavy-bottomed pot like a Dutch oven, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the veggie oil, and sear pork fat side down for about 8-10 minutes, or until it is nicely browned. Then brown the other side of the pork for another 8-10 minutes. Remove the pork from the pot. Carefully remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.
Add the sliced fennel, plums, halved lemon, and garlic to the pot. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Stir and let fennel and garlic lightly brown. Add the apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the date syrup. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Return the pork to the pot. The liquid should come a little less than halfway up the pork, add more water if it doesn’t. Cover and transfer to oven.
Roast the pork for about 2 hours. You want it to be tender enough to easily slice it, but not falling off the bone.
Remove the pot from the oven. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes. Slice the pork and transfer the pork and fennel to a platter. Ladle the juices over it. Garnish with thyme and rosemary.
We are #blessed to have three wine connoisseurs in our friend group, which means our gatherings are always full of interesting, unique wines paired perfectly with our meal.
Pictured below are two of the wines we paired with this meal: a muscat / chardonnay blend and a gamay / Jura blend.
For red, we recommend a light-bodied and fruit-forward wine, such as a Beaujolais Villages. We recommend a white that is clean, crisp, and neutral, like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.