Oregon's hottest-ever summer kept many home cooks out of the kitchen through September. As we welcome cooler weather, regional growers are harvesting signature fall crops.
Market bins are heaped with multicolored beets, carrots, squashes, cauliflowers, potatoes and peppers, garlic bulbs in twist-top papery skins and mushrooms like creatures pulled from the sea, with bits of dirt clinging to their gills. Vendors are hawking fish and fowl, sweet honey and tart cheeses, and handmade treats baked or raw.
More grocery stores are featuring seasonal regional foods, but farmers markets, barn and country stores, road stands and U-pick farms remain destination sources for many of the freshest and most distinctively local crops.
Among the most dedicated local foragers are our restaurant chefs, who practically snatch the best growing things from the earth itself and then perform alchemy in their kitchens for our sustenance and delight.
We asked three Portland food professionals to contribute inspiring recipes for signature dishes, adapted for the home kitchen. Many details and chefs' tips are included so you can navigate each recipe — and make creative use of leftovers.
This week we're featuring:
- Beets And Chilies Salad With Walnut Pesto, by Park Kitchen
- Hayashi Beef Stew, by Pono Farm Soul Kitchen
- Riesling Raisin And Apple Hand Pies With Brown Sugar-Sour Cream Sauce, by Ned Ludd
Try these three additional creative chefs' recipes that celebrate Oregon's fall harvest.
Beets And Chilies Salad With Walnut Pesto | Park Kitchen
Chef/owner Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen in Portland says this salad is all about three ingredients: beets, chilies and walnuts.
“Look for various beet types, but if you find only red, the dish will taste just as good. The chilies should vary upon your tolerance for heat, but definitely incorporate sweet varieties for balance.
"For the pesto, toast the walnuts just past light brown — you want the pronounced walnut flavor. Chicories add a textural element and their bitterness balances the beets’ earthiness and chilies’ sweetness. Don’t use too much chicory — this rustic salad is at its best showing off the beets and chilies.”
Dolich says this dish is a popular choice in the restaurant’s catering business because lots of people enjoy the surprising, yet well-balanced flavors.
Preparation time: 1 hour | Difficulty: Medium | Vegan and gluten-free
Hayashi Beef Stew | Pono Farm Soul Kitchen
Ted Nakato's Pono Farm & Fine Meats is a many-tentacled operation, starting with farmlands in Bend, where premium wagyu and red Angus beef and hogs are pasture-raised and butchered. This supplies its Soul Kitchen restaurant in Portland, which specializes in what it describes as Japanese-influenced comfort food. But not all dishes are meat-centric; daily-printed menus are eclectic, including seafood and vegan/gluten-free offerings.
Executive chef Ric Ramos says this one-pot stew is very similar to a "humble" European beef bourguignon.
“The chocolate provides a slight bitterness to complement the sweetness of honey and the saltiness of soy, which imparts a Japanese flavor as well,” Ramos said.
You can buy the chuck roast for this recipe — and other fresh cuts, grinds and smoked meats — at the retail butcher counter Pono Farm PDX next door to Soul Kitchen. You can even phone ahead (Ramos suggests asking for "stew meat") and pick up your order at the PSU Portland Farmers Market on Saturday. Ramos is always at Pono Farm's booth, grilling up something that smells tantalizing.
Preparation time: 2-plus hours, including 30 minutes of prep | Difficulty: Medium
Riesling Raisin And Apple Hand Pies With Brown Sugar-Sour Cream Sauce | Ned Ludd
The main heating element at Ned Ludd restaurant in the King neighborhood is a modest-capacity brick-faced wood-fired oven. Yet it's the means to much of chef/owner Jason French's scratch, small-batch craft cooking and baking. The oven consumes a steady diet of pear, oak and alder firewood to produce dishes like Roasted Carrots with Black Garlic Cream and Mustard Greens and Roasted Sturgeon with Coal-roasted Eggplant, Green Tomato, Charred Escarole and Tiny Cucumbers.
French says this hand-pie recipe was developed anticipating autumn's signature ingredients and comes from his "love of apple pie — empanada style — and Riesling. It combines the deepest of flavors — the sweetness and richness — without jeopardizing the apple at the center of the dish. Taking the McDonald's pie from youth and bringing it up to a culinary level."
Preparation time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours | Difficulty: Medium
Beets And Chilies Salad With Walnut Pesto
Makes 6 to 8 servings as a starter or side salad
- About 3 pounds of assorted beets (red, yellow, chioggia)
- About 1 pound of large red and green chili peppers, such as gypsy, Alma and Sweet Italian (sweet) and Poblano, Anaheim and Cherry Bomb (spicier).
Spoiler alert! High-quality roasted, peeled chilies are available in some stores
- 1 cup olive oil blend (half extra-virgin olive oil, half canola oil)
- 1 cup garlic, sliced
- Zest of 2 lemons (colored part only), finely grated
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups walnuts, toasted just past light brown, coarsely chopped
- 1 preserved lemon, cut into small pieces*
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1-½ cups canola oil
- 1-½ cups olive oil
*Lemons sold in jars with condiments in high-end grocery stores
- Assorted chicories (dandelion, radicchio, escarole, Belgian or curly
endive), 4 leaves each
- 2 heaping tablespoons walnut pesto
- 1 tablespoon preserved lemon vinaigrette
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Separate the leaves and stems and reserve for another use.
- Wash beets and season liberally with salt.
- Put beets in a covered baking dish with 1/4 inch of water in the bottom. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, until you can pierce them easily with a knife.
- Peel beets and cut into mouth-friendly wedges that can fit on fork tines. Chill and reserve.
- Roast or grill chilies over an open flame so the skins are charred all over. Seal in a zip-lock bag to steam while they cool.
- When cooled, peel the skins and remove seeds.
- Cut into fork-friendly 1-inch equilateral triangles.
- Toast walnuts in oven or on stovetop until they are fragrant and just past light brown. Set aside.
- In a pan on the stovetop, toast garlic slices and lemon zest in olive oil blend until garlic is barely browned.
- Add chili flakes and, as soon as they "bloom" (release their aroma), remove pan from heat.
- In the food processor bowl, combine contents of pan with salt and toasted walnuts. Pulse for a few seconds, several times, until coarsely ground.
(Leftover pesto can be refrigerated in a lidded container for up to 3 weeks and used as pasta sauce.)
- In food processor bowl, blend lemon pieces, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, chili flakes and about half the water until well-combined.
- On high speed, slowly drizzle in the canola oil. Finish emulsification by slowly adding the olive oil and remaining water.
(Leftover vinaigrette can be refrigerated in a lidded jar for 3 months and is fantastic for any green salad.)
Assemble and serve
Put all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss gently. Serve in a rustic style on plates or in bowls. Pair with an Oregon pinot noir.
• Add croutons for a delicious lunch salad
• Add shaved hard cheese for a savory dimension
• Add sliced salami if you crave protein
Hayashi Beef Stew
Makes 3 to 4 servings
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound beef chuck, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 pound onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon 70 percent cocoa powder or 1/2 ounce (70 percent cocoa) bar chocolate
- 1/2 cup red wine, such as burgundy or pinot noir
- 4 cups beef broth, homemade or aseptic packaged
- ½ pound carrots, cut into 3/4-inch oblique slices
- ½ pound waxy potatoes such as fingerlings or gemstones, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms (caps only), brushed lightly to clean, chopped into medium bite-sized pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a stock pot; add the beef chuck. Let it cook until brown, stirring occasionally. Remove beef from pot and set aside.
- Add the onions to pot and reduce heat to low. Let them cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until translucent and soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and let it cook until the aroma comes out.
- Turn the heat to high. Add the tomato paste, tamari or soy, honey and chocolate; stir for a few minutes until the mixture dries out.
- Deglaze with red wine and leave on high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced by half.
- Add the beef chuck and broth and increase heat to high until stew is simmering. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add carrots, potatoes and mushrooms and let stew continue to simmer until beef is tender, 45 minutes to an hour.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with steamed short-grain white rice and pair with a hearty red wine such as an Oregon pinot noir.
Riesling Raisin And Apple Hand Pies With Brown Sugar-Sour Cream Sauce
Makes 6 single-serving hand pies
- 5-1/2 cups, packed, (2 pounds) golden raisins
- 2 cups (1 pound) granulated sugar
- 1 bottle Pacific Northwest Riesling
- Pinch of salt
- 6 McIntosh or Jonathan apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons ground star anise
- A few pinches of salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 cup Riesling raisins
- 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- 5 large preferably farm-fresh eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups (12-3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3/8 teaspoon baking powder
- Good pinch of salt
Brown suger-sour cream sauce
- 1 quart sour cream
- 3 cups brown sugar, packed, or by weight 22.5 ounces (1 pound plus 6.5 ounces)
- Small pinch of salt
- Freshly grated nutmeg
Prep tips: The apples and raisins can be cooked at the same time and should take about a half hour. Prep time for the dough is half hour; allow 45 minutes to 1 hour to include resting time. Make the sauce while the dough is resting or the pies are baking. To avoid a last-minute rush, make the filling, dough and/or sauce 1 to 2 days ahead and refrigerate. Bring everything to room temperature before proceeding.
- Put the raisins, sugar, Riesling and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Lower heat to medium-high and reduce mixture until raisins are well-coated and the liquid is a thin syrup. Stir frequently so raisins plump evenly with Riesling and sugar. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
(Leftover Riesling raisins can be refrigerated in a lidded glass jar and used as a condiment for cheese or charcuterie or a topping for ice cream or spice breads.)
- Combine apples, sugar, spices, salt and ginger in a sauce pot. Stir well to combine and cook over medium-high heat for 10 to12 minutes or until apples just begin to soften.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (do not refrigerate).
- Add the cup of Riesling raisins to the apple mixture and stir well.
- While the apple and raisin flavors blend, make the dough. Combine the butter and sugar in a food processor and blend for 30 to 40 seconds or until consistency is like course sand. Add eggs one at a time and pulse to incorporate.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt and pulse until the dough comes together; it will be soft and slightly sticky.
- Scrape onto a floured surface and pat into a flat disc. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and roll each into a ball. Press each ball into a circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least a half hour or overnight. Be sure to return to room temperature before rolling out.
- With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a circle 3 to 4 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Place 1/2 cup filling in the center of each. Using a spatula, carefully fold one side over and press lightly to seal or use the tines of a fork to impress a nice pattern across the crescent.
- Place individual pies on a sheet pan and allow to rest and chill in the refrigerator for a half hour.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Brown sugar-sour cream sauce
Whisk together the sour cream and brown sugar until smooth. Season with a pinch of salt.
(Leftover sauce can be refrigerated in a lidded container up to one week. Suggestions: drizzle on roasted squash or spice breads or use to garnish pastries or as a versatile base for creamy salad dressings or a dip for apple slices.)
Bake hand pies
- Carefully transfer the pies to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat (or other nonstick baking mat) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let pies cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes.
To serve, plate the hand pies and top generously with sour cream sauce and perhaps some freshly grated nutmeg. Pair with a crisp Pacific Northwest Riesling.