EASY WEEKNIGHT DINNERS

Warming Autumn Recipes

Around this time of year, many of us will find ourselves heading into autumn looking back over our shoulders, once again reluctant to let go of summer for another year.

Foodies, on the other hand, are one group who often seem to buck the seasonal moodiness trend. For fans of vivid, earthy vegetables and richly marbled, smoky-sweet proteins, there’s usually a lot to look forward to in what Keats so memorably called the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’.

With so many cheerful, warming, vaguely festive ingredients coming into peak season from August to December, it’s difficult not to look forward to all those deliciously warming autumn recipes - even if you could do without the weather taking a sharp turn first!

Getting creative in the kitchen is the perfect way to keep off the damp, cold and fog of the shorter day. More than in any other season, even the most timid cook can work absolute wonders with a few simple autumn foods.

See below for a couple of our favourite seasonal classics - easy autumn dinner ideas that look far more complicated on the table than they actually were to prepare...

Pork tenderloins with roasted apple and onion

Pork tenderloins

Ingredients

  • 2 pork tenderloins, around 300-350g each
  • 3-4 medium apples - slightly tart varieties are best
  • 1-2 good-sized red onions
  • Maris Piper potatoes, for mashing or roasting
  • 120ml balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7, 220°C (for fan assisted ovens, drop the temperature slightly to 210°C).
  2. Make a balsamic glaze: boil and reduce the vinegar with the maple syrup over a high heat, until slightly thickened and glossy.
  3. Core and slice the apples into 1/8th pieces, and slice the onion into wedges around 1cm thick. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat, season lightly, and spread in a single layer on a baking tray in the bottom of the oven. Roast for 10-15min, or until just starting to turn golden.
  4. Line another tray or roasting dish with foil, and place the tenderloins in the middle. Brush with 1/3 of the balsamic glaze, and cook for 10min in the top of the oven (or the hotter compartment of your range cooker).
  5. Remove, brush with 1/3 of the glaze again. Return to cook for another 10-15min, placing the apples and onions on the bottom shelf again as you do.
  6. When the pork is cooked through (juices run clear) and the apples and onion are softened and starting to crisp at the edges, remove everything from the oven and rest the meat for 10min under foil.
  7. Slice into inch-thick rounds, pile a heaped spoonful of apple and onion on top, and drizzle with the remaining glaze. Serve with mash or roast potatoes, and green beans if you like.

Wild mushroom tartlets with parmesan

Wild mushroom tartlets

Ingredients

  • 1 roll (375g) all-butter puff pastry
  • 300g mushrooms, ideally a mixture of wild varieties
  • 30g Parmesan
  • 25g salted butter
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 egg, for glazing
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180°C (for fan assisted ovens, lower the temperature to 170°C).
  2. Roll out the pastry and cut four circles of approximately 15cm diameter. Arrange these with space between them on a lined baking tray, and place in the fridge to keep chilled.
  3. Fry the washed and roughly chopped mushrooms in the butter over a medium-high heat, stirring continuously and cooking through until there’s no obvious liquid left in the base of the pan.
  4. Season to taste, remove from the heat, and immediately add the garlic, finely grated parmesan, and parsley.
  5. With the tip of a knife, gently score a light circle around the full circumference of each pastry disc, about 1cm in from the edge.
  6. Spoon 1/4 of the mushroom and cheese mixture into the centre of each pastry disc, then glaze the rim of each tartlet with a coating of beaten egg.
  7. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for around 20 minutes until puffed up, oozing and golden. Serve with peppery green salad leaves, such as rocket.

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