We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.
Shorter days and cooler weather signal the beginning of fall, and in many places, the start of the harvest season. Dishes featuring seasonal favorites like pumpkin, squash, and apples often hog the spotlight, but there are plenty of recipes around the world made to celebrate the arrival of autumn. Here are just eight of our favorites to taste-test for yourself.
Nothing indicates the imminent winter in Bulgaria more than pickled vegetables. One cold-weather recipe beloved in the Balkan country is turshia, a vegetable medley of cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and parsley marinated in vinegar and salt for several weeks before being consumed. The sour salad pairs perfectly with rakia (fruit brandy), and is generally served as an appetizer in restaurants. Many Bulgarians use their last remaining summer vegetables and pickle them to make turshia at home. The salad is also common to find in ready-to-serve jars at grocery stores as fall approaches.
Luckily, you don’t need to visit the Balkans to enjoy turshia; you can easily create it at home in a few quick steps. Start by boiling the marinade of apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and oil. Chop your veggies and put them into a glass mason jar, then pour the cooled marinade into the jar, seal, and refrigerate. Your homemade turshia will be ready in just a few days.
Insalata di Porcini Freschi, Italy
Visit Italy in the fall and you’ll find dishes topped with freshly-foraged mushrooms (known as truffles) popping up on menus across the country. Truffle season is a big deal in Italy, especially in the northern half of the country where the prized white truffle is harvested in October and November. Food-frenzied locals and tourists flock to Italy for their autumn food festivals, which feature plenty of fungi-infused creations.
You could eat for days and still not sample it all, but one of the most seasonal and satiable Italian dishes is insalata di porcini freschi (fresh wild mushroom salad). Thick slices of foraged truffles are topped with rocket (arugula), olive oil, salt, and a splash of lime. It’s a simple dish that shows off the fungus’ flavor like no other.
When the chill of fall sets in, nothing warms a soul in Russia like solyanka. The hearty, tomato-based stew is traditionally made with beef, sausage, onions, and plenty of herbs and spices. Non-meat eaters can still indulge with the seafood (fish or crayfish) and vegetarian options (usually containing mushrooms) that are just as tasty. Olives, capers, and pickles give this soup a satisfying salty flavor, which is also said to work wonders if you’re feeling sluggish after a night out on the town.
To make solyanka at home, simmer a savory beef broth with cabbage, celery, carrots, and onions before adding in your choice of meat. Thicken the mix with tomato paste and stewed tomatoes before tossing in olives, capers, and pickles for the final flourish. Serve piping hot with a dollop of sour cream on top.
Kabocha Korokke, Japan
The U.S. isn’t the only country that goes gourd-crazy in fall. Japan’s pumpkin squash, known as kabocha, is covered in a dark green skin that gives way to a mildly sweet, fleshy interior. While North Americans are accustomed to eating pumpkin mashed or puréed into soup or pie, we can all agree that the ultimate comfort food is always deep-fried.
That’s exactly what kabocha korokke (pumpkin croquette) is all about. Croquettes of kabocha are deep-fried until they are covered in a thick, crispy coating. They are lightly seasoned with just salt and pepper, allowing the squash’s natural flavors to come through. Served as an appetizer or a mellow side dish to curry, this is one treat that the Japanese can’t get enough of in fall.
Chiles en Nogada, Mexico
The poblano chili pepper harvest in central Mexico produces an abundance of mild green peppers used for chiles en nogada, a regional dish served across the country in autumn. Chiles en nogada are peppers stuffed with ground beef, sautéed in tomato purée, and flavored with candied cactus called biznaga, chopped nuts, onions, carrots, and potatoes.
Mexican cream is then blended with walnuts and cinnamon and poured over the entire dish before it’s garnished with parsley and pomegranate seeds. The colors of the green peppers, white walnut sauce, and red garnishes are particularly patriotic, which is why the dish is often served on September 16 to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.
Boeuf Bourguignon, France
For France’s many vineyards, autumn heralds the grape harvesting season. So it’s perhaps no surprise that one of the nation’s best fall dishes makes use of its vintages to cook up a hearty stew. Warm your insides with the ultimate French fall comfort food. Boeuf Bourguignon (beef Burgundy) is a labor of love, taking hours to simmer to perfection, but worth every minute.
Chunks of prime cut beef are braised until tender in red-wine gravy (typically Burgundy) and flavored with onions, carrots, and mushrooms. The dish is generously spooned over mashed potatoes with a side of green beans and French bread for the ultimate fall feast.
This sweet or savory dessert pastry makes its anticipated appearance during the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival throughout China. The festival honors the Moon, and the namesake treat is considered a traditional delicacy during the harvest season. Mooncakes are typically round to reflect the Moon’s shape and feature a stamped design on top to showcase the name of the filling.
The sweet variety is filled with red bean paste, lotus seed paste, or red date paste, while savory mooncakes are stuffed with ham, Chinese sausage, or roast pork. They’re gifted to friends and family during the holiday, and consumed when the full moon is at its brightest.
Parsnip and Apple Soup, Ireland
A bowl of steaming parsnip and apple soup does wonders to fend off the chilly Irish weather. The creamy, curried autumn stew features parsnips as its main ingredient — a popular root vegetable that traditionally sustained the Irish throughout the winter when fresh vegetables were no longer available. They also happen to be a great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamins.
To make the ultimate Irish comfort soup, the strong-flavored vegetable is sautéed with apples, onions, and a trifecta of spices that sets this soup apart: curry, cumin, and coriander. Vegetable stock and heavy cream are added before the mixture is puréed into a creamy, rich soup. Serve the soup with a side of crusty bread or alongside pork chops or ham for the perfect fall meal.