RECIPES: In autumn, apples (and pears) don’t fall far from local chefs' minds

With Whole Roasted Chicken with Celery Root Pear "Hash" and Cranberry BBQ Sauce, Canoe executive chef Matt Basford blends what he cooks at home with some of the techniques he uses at the restaurant. Courtesy of Jeff Moore / Green Olive Media

Credit: Jeff Moore

Credit: Jeff Moore

Fall is the season for heartier fruits. Apples are plentiful, and though not as easy to find locally because of a disease called fire blight, pears can be successfully grown in Georgia backyard gardens.

We asked three Atlanta chefs to come up with dishes for a fall meal using apples and pears, and they delivered recipes for a salad, a main course and a side dish, as well as a dessert.

Doug Turbush is the chef behind Seed Kitchen & Bar, Stem Wine Bar, and Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar, where he features local ingredients prepared simply but elegantly.

Turbush’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Pancetta was originally on the menu at Stem.

“It was motivated by traveling to Spain and figuring out what would work for a small plate menu,” Turbush says. “That one came together pretty nicely, and was popular because east Cobb is crazy about Brussels sprouts in any form or fashion. And I love bacon, and I love all those ingredients together.”

The dressing might be a bit tart for some salads, Turbush notes, but it helps brighten up the Brussels sprouts, and the apples work that way, too.

“You’ll see with all our menus, it’s fruit, cheese, nuts happening on a salad somewhere at every restaurant,” he says. “A warm bacon vinaigrette is kind of a standard steakhouse spinach salad dressing, but this one’s a little different. It’s a little tart.”

At Canoe, executive chef Matt Basford creates seasonal menus with international flavors. Currently, Basford is serving a roasted Sichuan jerked half-chicken with cranberry BBQ sauce. But at home, he’s more likely to make a tried-and-true roast chicken.

“I try to keep it simple cooking at home,” he says.

Basford’s recipe for Whole Roasted Chicken With Celery Root Pear “Hash” and Cranberry BBQ Sauce melds what he might make on a weeknight with some of the chef’s techniques he uses at the restaurant.

“I think pears are kind of like the ugly stepchild, compared to apples,” Basford said. “People don’t think about using them because they can be so hard. And they don’t ripen up too much once they’ve been picked. But I like that nice, subtle sweetness that they have, and the texture holds up more than most apples do when you cook with them. They have a little crunch to them.”

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Combining celery root and pear in a hash makes for a sweet and earthy side dish to go with the chicken. And he uses the drippings from roasting the chicken to add more flavor to the hash.

“The celery root and the pear hold up well together, and they don’t fight for attention, they live in harmony,” Basford says. “With what I call the ‘chicken goodness’ from the braising pan, you get a little bit of thyme, and the chicken fat comes out, and just adds another dimension of caramelization and depth of flavor to the hash.”

At chef Craig Richards' newish restaurant Lyla Lila, house-made pasta is the star of the show. But Richards makes homey desserts he sometimes spikes with spicy or savory ingredients. One example is Spice Cake With Cardamom Apples, which certainly fits the bill for a fall fruit dessert.

“I think you can cook fruit and treat it as a savory item, pretty easily,” he says. “I like doing different stone fruits on the wood grill here. You season them with salt and pepper, like you would anything else. In the past, I’ve done pears as part of a pasta filling with different cheeses. And we’ve been doing grilled peaches with pork and broccolini.”

For his easy spice cake, Richards uses black pepper and peanut oil, which gives it savory and nutty notes, in a dessert that isn’t too sweet. And he uses molasses to give the cake some caramel flavor and color.

“As far as the apples and cardamom, I’ve always liked that flavor combination,” he says. "To me, cardamom almost smells and tastes like a green apple, anyway. And so when you put it together with a tart apple variety, it’s pretty harmonious.

“But you could use pears, or even quince could be good. And I might serve it with whipped cream with a touch of vanilla. I think it hits all those notes, as far as the fall spices you expect, and some flavors you may not expect, and it should be delicious if you serve it warm.”

RECIPES

These recipes from three Atlanta chefs highlight apples and pears with seasonal dishes to make for a fall meal.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Pancetta is from chef Doug Turbush, owner of Seed Kitchen & Bar, Stem Wine Bar, and Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar. Courtesy of Jeff Moore

Credit: Jeff Moore

Credit: Jeff Moore

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Pancetta

For optimum flavor, chef Doug Turbush notes that ideally this substantial salad should be served slightly warm, which can be achieved by gently warming the ingredients prior to serving.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Pancetta
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch lardons, cooked until crispy, fat reserved
  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and shaved thin
  • 1/2 apple, shaved thin
  • Warm Bacon Vinaigrette (see recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • Toast the pine nuts at 300 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown, and set aside.
  • Cook the pancetta in a frying pan over high heat to crisp, drain well, and reserve the fat for the vinaigrette.
  • Put the Brussels sprouts, pine nuts, pancetta lardons and apple slices into a stainless-steel mixing bowl and toss together. Place the bowl in a 300-degree oven for 3-4 minutes to gently warm the ingredients. Use oven mitts or a clean, dry kitchen towel to carefully remove the hot bowl from the oven.
  • Toss with 2 ounces warm vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Plate and top with the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serves 3-4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 3, salad only: 253 calories (percent of calories from fat, 57), 11 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 17 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 531 milligrams sodium.
Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat, warm
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper from a pepper mill
  • In a large bowl or a blender, whisk or whiz all the ingredients together until smooth, and reserve in a cruet or a bottle with a screw top. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per tablespoon: 90 calories (percent of calories from fat, 92), trace protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 9 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 2 milligrams cholesterol, 137 milligrams sodium.
Canoe executive chef Matt Basford mixed his home life and his restaurant skills in creating Whole Roasted Chicken with Celery Root Pear "Hash" and Cranberry BBQ Sauce. Courtesy of Jeff Moore / Green Olive Media

Credit: Jeff Moore

Credit: Jeff Moore

Whole Roasted Chicken With Celery Root Pear ‘Hash’ and Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Chef Matt Basford shows the way he roasts chicken at home and adds some restaurant-grade flair with the side and the sauce.

Whole Roasted Chicken
  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Remove chicken from the package and remove giblets. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel; be sure to dry the cavity.
  • Sprinkle crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and the thyme inside the chicken cavity.
  • Mix remaining salt and pepper with olive oil.
  • Place chicken in roasting pan and rub oil mixture over entire bird.
  • Place chicken in a 450-degree oven and roast for 10 minutes, until skin is lightly golden.
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees and roast for 45-60 minutes, until internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Reserve liquid in the roasting pan. And set aside the roasting pan for making the Celery Root Pear “Hash.” Serves 8.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, Whole Roasted Chicken: 458 calories (percent of calories from fat, 73), 30 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, trace fiber, 36 grams total fat (10 grams saturated), 121 milligrams cholesterol, 601 milligrams sodium.
Celery Root Pear ‘Hash’
  • 2 celery roots, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus extra as needed
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 pound red potatoes, diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, small diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 pears, diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Braising liquid from chicken (still in the roasting pan used to cook the chicken)
  • Place celery root in a stockpot and add enough cold water to cover the tops of the roots. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, bring to a boil over high heat and cook until slightly tender. Use a slotted spoon or a colander to transfer the celery root to a large bowl and return the water to the stockpot.
  • Add the sweet potatoes and red potatoes to the stockpot, add enough water to cover the tops of the potatoes, bring back to a boil, and cook 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic with the olive oil until translucent.
  • Mix onions/garlic, celery root and potatoes in a large bowl and transfer to roasting pan. Mix again once in roasting pan to distribute the braising liquid from the chicken.
  • Roast at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until lightly golden, then add pears and sage and mix once more and roast for a further 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, Celery Root Pear “Hash”: 221 calories (percent of calories from fat, 18), 3 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 4 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), trace cholesterol, 93 milligrams sodium.
Cranberry BBQ Sauce
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • In a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  • Add orange juice, cranberries, vinegar, sugar and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer.
  • Once all cranberries have popped, about 10 minutes, add mustard and ketchup.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add hot sauce to taste.
  • If you want a smoother sauce, blend in a blender when slightly cool. Makes about 5 cups.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per tablespoon: 13 calories (percent of calories from fat, 14), trace protein, 3 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 35 milligrams sodium.
At Lyla Lila, chef Craig Richards makes homey desserts such as Spice Cake With Cardamom Apples, a perfect dessert for fall. Courtesy of Lyla Lila

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Spice Cake With Cardamom Apples

Chef Craig Richards loves apples with cardamom, and he says the peanut oil and black pepper in the cake are a nice surprise and welcome partner with the apples.

Spice Cake With Cardamom Apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut oil
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • Cardamom Apples (see recipe)
  • Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, molasses and grated ginger.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves.
  • Boil water, stir in baking soda and mix with molasses mixture.
  • Gradually whisk dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then add eggs slowly. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick test is mostly dry.
  • Serve the cake sliced with Cardamom Apples spooned over it. Whipped cream is optional. Makes 1 (9-inch) loaf. Serves 12.

Nutritional information

Per serving: One serving of Spice Cake with a serving of Cardamom Apples: 497 calories (percent of calories from fat, 43), 5 grams protein, 67 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 24 grams total fat (trace saturated fat), 44 milligrams cholesterol, 455 milligrams sodium.
Cardamom Apples
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tart apples, unpeeled, cored and sliced in 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Add brown sugar, cardamom and salt and stir gently to mix. Add apples and turn up heat to medium-high. Cook apples for 10-15 minutes. Add water and reduce by half, about 2 minutes, to create a sauce. Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 95 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), trace protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 5 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 13 milligrams cholesterol, 120 milligrams sodium.
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