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Denver Chefs Dish: On Favorite Fall Recipes

Here’s what our favorite Front Range chefs are cooking up this season


The leaves are changing, the temps are cooling, and fall is in the air. ’Tis the season for squash purées, beef stews, and homemade pies. We asked some of our favorite chefs on the local dining scene to share their go-to fall meals with us — recipes and all! We got the scoop so you can make this your most delicious autumn yet. Happy cooking!

Urban Cauliflower

From Charles Mani at Urban Village Grill

Credit: Urban Village Grill

Chef Mani says: “When guests come to visit and I suggest ordering the Urban Cauliflower in the fall because of its warm, rich orange color, flavorful taste, and satisfying scent, they always look at me funny. However, as soon as they take a bite, it always brings me joy at how surprised they are that something like cauliflower can taste so good.” 

Ingredients:

For the cauliflower

1/2 lb cauliflower

12 oz oil of your choice

1/3 c all-purpose flour

3 tsp rice flower

2 tsp cornstarch

For the sauce:

1.5 tsp oil of your choice

2 oz chopped ginger

1.5 oz chopped garlic

1 oz chopped Thai chili

6 oz ketchup

3 oz chili garlic paste

2 oz soy sauce

Sesame seeds for garnish

Chives for garnish

Directions:

In a pot, heat your oil to 300 degrees. While oil is heating, prepare batter by mixing all-purpose flour, rice flour, and cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Slowly add water little by little until you have a lump-free batter. Add cauliflower to the batter and coat well. Fry cauliflower in the hot oil until golden brown.

For the sauce, heat your oil in a wide pan. Add chopped ginger, garlic, and Thai chili. Sauté until golden brown. Add chili garlic paste, ketchup and soy sauce. Mix well. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add fried cauliflower and stir gently to coat each piece with the sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and chives.

Italian Beef Sandwiches

From Chris Teigland at Glo Noodle House

Credit: Rick Walker

Chef Teigland says: “Growing up in Chicago, this sandwich was a staple throughout the city. It was really a food for any occasion or season, but it is something I crave whenever it starts to get colder outside. Cooking the beef low and slow overnight will also make your whole house smell like a warm hug. This recipe is just a version of the sandwich, and what’s fun about it is you can play with it however you like. Some people like to add provolone or cheddar cheese, and if you like it spicier you can add more hot peppers on top before eating. Traditionally, the beef is roasted and sliced thin, but since most people don’t have a slicer at home this will be a crockpot recipe. Braising in the oven would also work if you don’t have a crockpot.”

Ingredients:

4 lbs top sirloin

2 Tbsp cooking oil

2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

3 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp ground black pepper

1 onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 c red wine

4 c beef broth

1 Tbsp Worcestershire

1 sprig thyme

1 c banana peppers

1 jar giardiniera

8 hoagie rolls

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, then rub it all over the sirloin. In a large pot, add cooking oil and brown sirloin on all sides. Place the sirloin in your crockpot (or braising pan). Add onions and garlic to your large pot and sauté until translucent. Deglaze with red wine, then mix into the crockpot with the beef. Add beef broth, Worcestershire, thyme, and banana peppers. 

Cook on a low setting in the crockpot overnight OR at 200 degrees covered in the oven overnight. (I prefer to do this overnight so I can just forget about it, but you could start it in the morning and serve it for dinner. It can be tender enough in 6 hours, but allowing it to cook longer just lets the meat fall apart when it’s done.) After the beef is cooked, uncover and let cool for 30 minutes. Shred beef and place back in juices.

To serve, reheat beef in the juices until hot. Load hoagie roll with beef and top with giardiniera. The last step is up to you! It can be eaten now (dry) or you can dip the whole sandwich in the braising liquid and eat (wet). I prefer them wet, but be sure to be leaning over your plate as it tends to be a delicious drippy delight.

Tortilla Soup

From Antonio Tevillo at Tamayo

Credit: Stephanie Ross

Chef Tevillo says: “There’s nothing like warm soup in the fall, and it doesn’t hurt to add some extra heat! Our tortilla soup has the perfect combination of tradition, spice, and comfort. Don’t forget to sprinkle some avocado chunks on top of the soup to garnish and add another layer of freshness.” 

Ingredients:

6 corn tortillas (6-7 inches)

Vegetable oil for frying

1 guajillo chile (de-stemmed, de-seeded, veins removed, and cut into pieces)

1 ancho chile (de-stemmed, de-seeded, veins removed, and cut into pieces)

1/4 large Spanish onion, chopped

1 medium clove of garlic, chopped

6 plum tomatoes, quartered

3.5 c chicken stock, canned or homemade

1 sprig fresh epazote

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

2 tsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp honey

1/2 Hass avocado, finely diced

3 oz queso fresco, finely diced

1/4 c Mexican crema or sour cream

Directions:

Cut two tortillas into 1/2-inch squares and set aside. In a medium skillet, add about 1 inch of vegetable oil and heat until the oil shimmers. Fry your four remaining tortillas whole, one at a time, turning with tongs, until crisp and golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. In the same hot oil, fry the tortilla squares until golden brown. With a slotted spoon remove the squares and drain on paper towels. Set aside in

a bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the chiles, onion, and garlic, stirring until the onion and garlic start to brown (about 3 minutes). Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring until the juices are bubbling (about 3 minutes). Break the fried whole tortillas into spoon-sized pieces and add to the tomato mixture along with the chicken stock and epazote. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes. 

Remove the epazote and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Pour the soup through a strainer into a large bowl. Discard the debris.

Rinse the pan and return the soup to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat,

uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Season with salt, lime juice, and honey. The soup should be the consistency of heavy cream. If too thick, add hot chicken broth or water to reach the desired consistency. To serve, place some tortilla squares, avocado, and cheese in the center of 4 shallow soup bowls. Ladle in the hot soup. Top with a dollop of crema.

Wild Mushroom Leek Bread Pudding

From Andrea Uzarowski at Süti + Co

Credit: Fresh Food Further

Chef Uzarowski says: “This dish is savory, gooey, warm, and beautiful. It captures all of the essence of the comfort of fall, with the herbs and the mushrooms and all the melty cheese. Not to mention, your home will smell amazing.”

Equipment:

8 (6-ounce) ramekins

Parchment paper

Ingredients:

4 c fresh bread cubes (1/2-inch) (suggested: brioche or challah)

1.5 lbs mixed fresh wild mushrooms (suggested: chanterelle, cremini, and oyster)

1/2 c shallot, finely chopped 

1/2  c leeks, sliced and sautéed

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 c flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/3 c thyme, finely chopped

1/4 c rosemary, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 c half-and-half

4 large eggs

1/2 c parmigiano-reggiano, grated

1 c brie, sliced

Salt

Pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 with the rack in the middle. Bake one layer of bread cubes in a large shallow baking pan until golden-brown (about 10 minutes). Slice mushrooms and sauté. Slice leeks and sauté. Set both aside. In a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, cook shallots in butter, stirring occasionally, until shallots begin to soften (about 3 minutes). Add sautéed mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated (about 15 minutes). Add parsley, thyme, rosemary and garlic, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together half-and-half, eggs, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in mushrooms, leeks, and bread cubes until coated well. Let stand for 10 minutes allowing bread to absorb some of the egg mixture. Meanwhile, butter your ramekins, then put a round of parchment paper in the bottom of each. Butter the parchment. Spoon mixture into ramekins and bake on a baking sheet until firm to the touch (about 30-35 minutes). Place a slice of brie on top of each bread pudding, allowing it to melt from heat. Unmold puddings and discard parchment. Enjoy with salad, as a side, or with a cup of warm butternut squash soup.

Thai Brussels Sprouts

From Lon Symensma at ChoLon

Credit: ChoLon Restaurant Concepts

Chef Symensma says: “Brussels sprouts are a classic side dish that you always find on the table during fall. Our Stir Fried Brussel Sprouts at ChoLon are a fun play on a laarb salad from Northern Thailand.”

Ingredients:

For Nouc Cham sauce (yields 20 oz)

4 oz sugar

4 oz water

1/4 oz minced garlic (fresh)

1/8 oz minced thai chili (fresh)

4 oz fish sauce

3 oz fresh lime juice

4 oz rice vinegar

For Brussels sprouts:

2-3 c canola oil

2 oz ground pork

1.5 tsp oyster sauce

2 tsp ginger, chopped

1 Tbsp shallot, quartered

1 Tbsp green onion, chopped

7 oz Brussel sprouts, roughly chopped

2 tsp fresh mint, thinly sliced

2 tsp fresh cilantro, thinly sliced

5-7 slices of jalapeño (depending on spice preference!)

Zest from 1/2 of lime

2 Tbsp crispy rice

Directions:

For the sauce, combine sugar, water, garlic, and thai chili. Heat up ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add fish sauce, lime juice, and rice vinegar off of the heat. Mix and let cool.

For the Brussels sprouts, in a pot, bring canola oil to 350 degrees. Fry Brussel sprouts until dark brown. Let dry. Season a wok with 1 ounce canola oil. Add pork to wok and caramelize with oyster sauce. While pork is cooking, add ginger, shallot, and green onion, then stir until translucent. Add 2 ounces Nuoc Cham sauce. Bring everything to a boil, then add Brussels sprouts. Stir in jalapeño, mint, and cilantro. Stir and garnish with lime zest and crispy rice. Serve and enjoy!

Loco Moco Meatloaf

From Peaches Ayers at Adrift Tiki Bar

Credit: Adrift Tiki Bar

Chef Ayers says: “Loco Moco is a contemporary Hawaiian dish traditionally served with a hamburger patty, but we’ve put an Adrift spin on it for our past fall menus to be done with meatloaf instead. I love it because the meatloaf adds so much flavor. It’s the perfect comfort food for fall because it’s easy, hearty, and delicious.”

Ingredients

For the meatloaf:

1/4 c vegetable oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and shredded

1 large celery rib, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 c fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp celery salt

1 Tbsp Worcestershire

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1/4 c soy sauce

3/4 c panko breadcrumbs

1/3 c milk

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 large eggs

2 lbs ground beef (85% or 90% lean)

For the glaze:

2 Tbsp ketchup

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp Worcestershire

1/4 c brown sugar

2 Tbsp gochujang

1 Tbsp tomato paste

For the gravy:

1 c melted butter

1 c flour

1 qt beef stock

1/4 c soy sauce

1/4 c Worcestershire

2 Tbsp black pepper

For the red pepper sriracha:

1 16oz jar red bell peppers

1/4 c sriracha

1 tsp salt

For plating:

1 c of white rice per serving

1 egg per serving

1 c crispy onions

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Make a mirepoix mixture by combining the chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, black pepper, and celery salt in a

mixing bowl until fully combined. In a pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat and add in the mirepoix. Slowly stir the mixture for 7 minutes to sweat the vegetables. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture onto the baking sheet to cool.

Make a meat sauce by combining Worcestershire, tomato paste, and soy sauce in a small mixing bowl. Make a panade by combining milk, bread crumbs, and garlic powder in a mixing bowl, until the bread crumbs have soaked in all of the moisture. 

In another large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, eggs, mirepoix, meat sauce, and the panade and mix it together until the panade and mirepoix are evenly distributed throughout the ground beef. You should no longer be able to detect the eggs or the meat sauce!

For the glaze, combine ketchup, honey, Worcestershire, brown sugar, gochujang,

and tomato paste in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until fully incorporated.

Line a 9″x5″ loaf pan with parchment paper and press the meatloaf mixture in, pressing firmly to eliminate any air pockets. Use a basting brush to top the meatloaf with a thin layer of glaze. Put the meatloaf in the oven. Reglaze the meatloaf every fifteen minutes until finished. Cook the loaf for a total of one hour. The meatloaf should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees when it is finished. Rest the meatloaf for 15 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile, cook the rice.

For the gravy base, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Once the butter is fully melted, continuously whisk in the flour so no clumps form. Stir until it reaches a medium brown color and is slightly thickened. In a separate pot bring the beef stock to a boil. Whisk in soy sauce and worcestershire. Whisk in the gravy base a half cup at a time until it reaches your desired thickness. Add in black pepper. Set to low heat until you are ready to serve.

For the red pepper sriracha, combine the roasted red peppers, sriracha, and salt in a food processor or blender. Blend until the red peppers are fully shredded.

Fry your eggs! One egg per serving is standard. Cook to your preference! Over Medium is delicious with the textures in this dish.

To serve, lay down one cup of cooked rice on a plate or in a bowl, lay one slice of meatloaf on top, ladle on a scoop of gravy, and top with your fried egg. Garnish with salt, pepper, crispy onions, and red pepper sriracha.

Lyonnaise Brussels Sprouts

From Tim Meador at The Annex

Credit: WeldWerks Brewing Co.

Chef Meador says: “We served this dish at the opening of our restaurant last February, and it is still one of my top ranking favorites. It is nice and simple. It is the perfect fall dish. I grew up eating Brussels sprouts and have come to love them as one of my favorite vegetables. They keep a great freshness while being able to hold up to hard roasting or sauteing. This dish is nice and simple with a whole lot of flavor making it great to make at home.”  

Ingredients:

2 strips bacon (1/2-inch cut and rendered)

1 Tbsp rendered bacon fat

8 oz Brussels sprouts, quartered

1.5 oz julienned yellow onion

2 Tbsp whole grain mustard

2 oz shaved grana padano

Directions:

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add bacon fat and Brussels sprouts cut-side down. Once the first side of the Brussels sprouts are golden brown, flip them to the second cut-side down and add the julienned yellow onion, sprinkled evenly around the pan. Next, add the rendered bacon. Once the onions are soft, toss everything together and season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper (whole grain mustard and cheese will add salt to the final product, so go lighter on the salt. You can always add more at the end).

Next, add whole grain mustard and toss. Add 1 ounce of shaved grana padano. Give it a mix until the cheese is just mixed in, and immediately plate it. Garnish with 1 ounce of grana padano.

Lamb Bolognese

From Troy Guard at Guard and Grace

Credit: Bullfrog

Chef Guard says: “This dish is my go-to comfort dish for the fall and winter seasons. When I think of fall and winter, I think about meals that have warm and comforting components. This lamb bolognese has braised meat, pasta, parmesan, and butter, which all come together to create a well rounded-hearty dish. The salty cheese, rich lamb, and buttery pasta are all flavors that I take comfort in as the days become colder.”

Ingredients:

5 lbs lamb shoulder or lamb stew meat (cut into 2-inch cubes)

1 c fresh fennel, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (tops removed)

2 c carrot, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

3 c yellow onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 c confit garlic

1 c canola oil

1/2 c tomato paste

3 c red cooking wine

3 qt peeled, whole san marzano tomatoes

1 c heavy cream

1 c grated parmesan cheese

8 oz butter, cubed

4 oz sherry vinegar

Salt

Pepper

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. For the garlic confit, place whole, peeled cloves of garlic in a small sauce pot. Add enough canola oil to just cover the garlic. Turn on medium heat and simmer until the garlic is soft and spreadable. 

Heat a large stock pot or roasting pan over high heat. Season lamb generously with kosher salt. Add canola oil to the pan and heat until it is lightly smoking. Add some of the lamb to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and sear over high heat on each side of the cubes. Once seared, remove the cubes of lamb from the pan and continue until all lamb is seared. Once the lamb is complete, add carrots to the pan and cook, stirring constantly until it appears to be caramelized. Without removing the carrot from the pan, add fennel and continue to cook. Next add the onion and cook until translucent.

Lower heat to medium, add tomato paste to the vegetables, and toast lightly, being sure not to burn on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add wine. Bring wine to a boil then lower heat and cook until the alcohol smell is gone. Add lamb back to the pan, then add all of the tomatoes and confit garlic. (I like leaving the tomatoes and garlic whole so they will cook down and be chunky at the end rather than all puréed). Cover and cook until it all reaches a boil. Once a boil is reached, remove the lid, add cream and stir to combine. Place the roasting pan in the 200 degree oven uncovered and cook for a minimum of 4 hours. The longer you cook the more concentrated the flavor will be — we typically cook at the restaurant for 10-12 hours — checking occasionally to be sure there is enough liquid.

Once your desired time is reached, remove from the oven and let cool slightly at room temperature for about 30 minutes. As it is cooling, use a pair of tongs or a spoon to break the larger chunks of lamb. Once you have broken up the pieces of meat, stir to help emulsify the sauce with the shredded meat and mix evenly. Add the cheese, butter, and sherry vinegar, and continue stirring until you have a smooth and creamy mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cazuela

From John Broening at Three Saints Revival

Credit: John Broening, Three Saints Revival

Chef Broening says: “This hearty and flavorful fall dish is loosely based on the traditional Spanish Cazuela or casserole made with chickpeas and spinach. I have added one of my favorite Spanish products, Palacios Hot Chorizo (available at most specialty stores), and a few decidedly non-traditional garnishes: feta and cilantro. The whole dish can be prepped and cooked in half an hour and can be served as a side dish with lamb or chicken or as a dinner with steamed rice.”

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 

2 small red onions, julienned 

1 small red pepper, de-seeded and julienned

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/3 c Palacios Hot Chorizo, peeled and finely chopped

2 c cooked chickpeas, drained

4 oz (about 3 cups), cleaned, de-stemmed spinach

2 c low-sodium chicken broth

Juice of 1 lemon

2 oz feta, lightly crumbled

12-16 cilantro leaves

Kosher salt to taste

Directions: 

In a medium-sized Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over low-medium heat. Add red onions, red pepper, and a pinch of salt, and cook until tender and lightly colored (about 12 minutes). Add garlic and cook without coloring (about 2 minutes). Add the chorizo and toss to coat. Add the chickpeas and spinach, and stir well. Add the chicken broth and simmer until slightly thickened (about 4 minutes). Off the heat, add the lemon juice. Season with salt to taste. Serve the cazuela in the Dutch oven, and sprinkle with the feta and cilantro.

Pork and Chorizo Hominy

From Rayme Rossello at Comida

Credit: Rayme Rossello, Comida

Chef Rossello says: “This is such a great dish because it uses up so many yummy things from the end of the season. All the corn, onions, carrots, and dried chili peppers, as well as tomatoes (canned and fresh) came out of our garden. The result is something that feels a little like summer but tastes like fall!”

Ingredients: 

Olive oil for cooking

1 lb pork butt, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 lb chorizo sausage links, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

2 Tbsp kosher salt

2 carrots, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

Corn cut from 1 fresh cob (optional) 

1  28 oz can hominy

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 12 oz can whole tomatoes 

4 juicy roma tomatoes, chopped 

2 limes

1 can Mexican lager

1/2 qt chicken stock

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp coriander 

1 tsp cayenne

4 dried ancho (or guajillo) chiles

Queso fresco for garnish

Lime wedges for garnish 

I like flour tortillas for this, but corn can be delicious too!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a deep braising pot, put a few good glugs of olive oil and the pork butt. Begin to render the fat down and brown the meat. After a few minutes, add the chopped chorizo. Add the salt. Once cooked through, transfer the meat to a bowl and cook the mirepoix (carrots, onion, and celery) in the remaining fat until onions begin to turn translucent. Add corn if using. Add the hominy and its juices. Add meat back into the pot, and add tomato paste to coat. Add can of tomatoes and fresh chopped tomatoes. Add Mexican lager, chicken stock, lime juice from 2 limes, cumin, paprika, coriander, and cayenne. Add dried chiles, and push down into the pot to submerge. After it all comes to a boil, transfer to the oven for 2.5 hours. When it is finished the meat should be fork tender. 

BONUS: Campfire Cocktail

From Cindi Wiley at Deviation Distilling

Credit: Deviation Distilling

Cindi says: “We dreamed up this cocktail during COVID when the great outdoors was one of the only places that was ‘open.’ You can prepare it ahead of time, then just pour over ice when you reach your destination — whether that’s a campsite, mountain peak, or ski lift.”

Ingredients:

2 oz Deviation Distilling Barrel-Aged Spice Trade Gin (or your favorite gin,

preferably barrel aged)

1/2  oz pure maple syrup

5 drops chocolate bitters

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir with a bar spoon until chilled. Add ice to a rocks glass and pour cocktail over ice. Top with a toasted marshmallow.


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