“Give me juicy, autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard.” -Walt Whitman
The first day of autumn, for me, is like Christmas. I anxiously await the turning of the leaves and that virgin brush of crisp air like a kid waits for Santa Claus. The sight of mums and pumpkins at the grocery store makes me absolutely giddy. This is also my favorite time to cook – the markets are bursting with the bounty of the harvest and the cool evenings make it ok to crank up the oven. That smoky old grill you’ve been using all summer is tired and ain’t got nothin’ on the beautiful roasts and casseroles that fill your home with amazing aromas.
My first dish of the fall season is an Autumnal ratatouille with roasted chicken. Ratatouille is traditionally more of a summer dish, with fresh tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplant. I’ve kept some of those traditional ingredients, but added squash, parsnip, carrot and sweet potato. Some smoked paprika adds warmth and depth. The addition of chickpeas adds a little heft and protein, making it an acceptable entrée dish for those vegetarians out there.
Pair with a pumpkin ale and enjoy!
Roasted Chicken with Autumn Vegetables & Chickpea Ratatouille
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 2 small onions, cut into rough dice
• Couple cloves of garlic, sliced
• 1 large red bell pepper, cut into rough dice
• 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into rough dice
• 1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into rough dice
• 2 or 3 carrots, peeled and cut into rough dice
• 1 medium zucchini, cut into rough dice
• 1 small eggplant, peeled & cut into rough dice
• 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into rough dice
• 1 can diced tomatoes
• 1/2 tbsp sugar
• 1 can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• ½ tbsp of smoked paprika
• salt & black pepper
• 1 cup water
• Chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish
Add 2 tbsp of the olive oil into a large, lidded pot and place on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Stir in the garlic and bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Next, add the squash and parsnip and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
Remove vegetables from pot and place aside in a bowl. Add the last 2 tbsp of oil to pot to heat. Add zucchini and eggplant to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Return the vegetables that are set aside to the pot. Add the chick peas, sweet potato, tomatoes, sugar, and tomato paste. Add salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Mix well, add water. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Spread veggies into an even layer in a 9×13 casserole dish. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs.
• 8-10 pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken
• 1 small onion, minced
• The juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tbsp of Herbes de Provence
• ½ tsp of Cheyenne pepper
• 1 tbsp of sea salt
• 2 tbsp of olive oil
Prepare the chicken beforehand by rinsing under cold water and patting dry with paper towels. Trim excess skin and fat if needed. Place chicken into a bowl, uncovered, in the fridge for a few hours to air dry. Less moisture in chicken skin makes it crisper while roasting.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chicken pieces to coat with the rest of the ingredients. Arrange chicken onto a roasting rack placed in a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and golden.