Words and Recipes by Maine's Coastal Co-ops and
Fragrant fall dishes
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Heartier flavors that reflect the change of season

Autumn harvest is a special time of overlap in Maine when you can still enjoy the end-of-summer bounty as the Fall crops become available. With the cold setting in, our palates start to change. We crave richer, heartier flavors that mingle together to reflect the terroir of the season. Even better is after that first frost when so many fruits and vegetables develop their sugars and their flavors really shine. 


For a simple soup and salad meal or a hearty starter to your feast, try the Hungarian Mushroom Soup from Rising Tide Co-op. The traditional Hungarian pairing of tangy sour cream and bright smoked paprika provides a rich and flavorful base to the savory, hearty mushrooms. The recipe calls for the traditional white button, but you may experiment with different varieties, such as shiitake or portabella, to provide a different flavor profile.


Picking from a veritable rainbow of winter squashes is one exciting part of cooking in autumn. In the Honeynut Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing, Belfast Co-op uses a squash variety developed recently in the Northeast. The honeynut squash looks like a shrunken butternut. The benefit is all the flavor of a full-sized butternut squash with a richer, more concentrated flavor. They bring a strong natural sweetness that caramelizes well while their thin skin means they don’t have to be peeled like a delicata. This roasted squash is the perfect foundation for the hearty wild rice stuffing that you no doubt will want to eat on its own.


The Fennel Roasted Chicken by Blue Hill Co-op is a unique take on a traditional dish enjoyed at dinner tables all over the region. The brightness of the fennel and lemon complement and highlight the time-honored and always loved roasted chicken. Roasting the chicken on the bed of vegetables elevates the meat off the pan so it doesn’t sit in its juices and stays crispy and flavorful. Find a chicken from a local farm and you’ll be surprised at the richness and depth of the meat grown on the bounty of summer.


Nothing makes a home smell like autumn more than the roasted and spiced apples used in the dish created by Portland Food Co-op, Whole Wheat Apple Crisp. Celebrate your love of

 

Maine by using a variety of unique local baking apples, such as Northern Spy or Cortland. Continue the theme with maple syrup from Maine woods, butter from a local dairy, and oats and flour from Maine farms to proclaim your love of Maine in the autumn. Top with a locally produced vanilla ice cream for a flavor combination that will be loved by all.


Autumn is the time when we think about home and getting ready for the winter to come. Make your home an inviting place by filling it with the smells and tastes of all the great local food from Maine farms and producers, brought to one place for you at your local food  co-op.


Honeynut Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

From the kitchen of Belfast Co-op


8 Honeynut Squash

½ cup butter

¾ cup maple syrup

Salt and pepper

1 cup pecans, halved

2 cups wild blend rice, raw

3 cups water

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

4 teaspoons maple syrup (additional to above)

½ cup celery, finely diced 

½ cup scallions, thinly sliced on the base


Preheat convection oven to 350°. 


Cut each squash in half and remove seeds. Melt butter with maple syrup in a small sauce pan. Place squash halves on a parchment-lined sheet pan and brush with butter and maple mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven until squash is very soft and edges are browning. A knife will easily pierce the flesh. Remove squash from oven, brush again with butter and maple mixture and cool. 


Toast pecans on an unlined half sheet pan for 4¬5 minutes.

 

Steam the rice with water until all the water is absorbed and rice grains are cooked through with some tooth left. Put cranberries on top and cool. 


Whisk together olive oil and cider vinegar and pour over rice and cranberries. Drizzle over the remaining maple syrup. Add celery, scallion rings, and pecans. Mix it all together.


Using an appropriate-sized scoop for the size of the squash, usually 3¼-ounces , fill the squash cavities with rice mixture. Arrange on a platter.


Hungarian Mushroom Soup (for a crowd)

From the kitchen of Rising Tide Coop


Serves 16 


5 tablespoons butter

5 cups diced onions 

5 pounds sliced mushrooms (about 25 cups, sliced)

2½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2½ tablespoons dill

2½ tablespoons smoked paprika

½ cup flour

5 cups water

2½ cups half-and-half

1¼ cups sour cream

¼ cup chopped parsley 


In a heavy-bottom pan on medium heat, melt the butter. 


Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, dill, and paprika and cook for 15 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. 


Add the half-and-half and cook for 5 minutes.


Add the sour cream and parsley and serve in warmed bowls.


Freeze the leftovers or bring some to your neighbors.


Fennel Roasted Chicken

From the kitchen of Blue Hill Co-op


Servings: 4¬6


1 whole chicken

½ cup safflower oil, divided

1 fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced ½ inch thick

¼ teaspoon fennel seed, lightly toasted

¾ pound yellow onion, julienned

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon black pepper


Preheat oven to 375°.


With the tip of a sharp knife, cut along both sides of the chicken cartilage at the end of the breastbone; remove cartilage. Turn the chicken, skin side up. Cut lengthwise down each side of the spine leaving the chicken in two pieces. Cut through the skin separating the thighs from the breast and slice through the joint of the thigh, repeat for the other side. You’ll be left with two legs/thigh pieces and two breasts/wings. 


Arrange the chicken, skin side up, in an oiled casserole dish. In a medium pot, heat ¼ cup oil and sauté onion, fennel, fennel seed, and garlic until caramelized. Add onion/fennel mixture to tray of chicken and add remaining oil, salt, and pepper. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 30¬–45 minutes, until chicken is golden brown and the internal temp is 165°.


Whole Wheat Apple Crisp

From the kitchen of Portland Co-op


6¬-8 servings


6 tart Maine apples (such as Northern Spy or Cortland), peeled, cored, and sliced

½ cup packed dark brown sugar, divided 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

¾ cup Maine-grown rolled oats

⅓ cup Maine whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Vanilla ice cream and Maine maple syrup for serving


Preheat oven to 350°. 


Toss apples, ¼ cup of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons melted butter in a greased 2-quart baking dish.


Toss oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt, remaining brown sugar and melted butter in a small bowl until evenly mixed (mixture will be fairly wet).

Sprinkle oat mixture over apples and bake for 50¬60 minutes, until topping is golden brown and filling is juicy and bubbly.


Let cool 10 minutes and serve topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with maple syrup.

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