Even in southern California the weather changes as the fall/winter/holiday season rolls in. The days get a little shorter and at some point the temperature starts to get a little cooler.


It’s time for something like comfort food—maybe pork and apples, some butternut squash soup, a warm roast beet salad and some type of crumble for dessert, how about pear and cranberries? One of our favorite meals—roast butternut squash soup, a warm roast beet salad with arugula, walnuts and goat cheese and a dish that will never go out of style – our roast Dijon rubbed pork tenderloin with cider braised red cabbage, apple raisin compote and apple jack brandy sauce and potato parmesan cakes. And for dessert pears and cranberry crumble with a sweet vanilla cream.

It’s fall and apples are in season and this dish uses apples in many different ways.

Roast Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash
1 onion – julienned
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 cup white wine
2 qts. Chicken stock
Olive oil
3 bay leaves
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Touch of white pepper


Split butternut squash, scrape out seeds, wrap with aluminum foil and place in a pre heated 350 degree oven on a sheet pan for 30- 45 minutes. You want the squash to be soft to the touch.
Unwrap the squash and scrape meat into a bowl.

Heat soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil and then the onion until onion caramelizes lightly.

Add garlic and continue cooking until everything turns golden brown. Add squash and heat through while stirring.

Season with some salt and fresh ground pepper, add bay leaves, and white wine and stir.

Reduce wine by half and add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about two hours.

Remove from heat, puree and place back in pot and bring back to a low simmer.

Season with salt and white pepper—you can also add curry powder, allspice, cinnamon and cloves as well as a little heavy cream depending on your taste—cream will make mouth feel silkier and richer tasting.

Serve with a garnish of crème fraiche and chopped chives.


Warm Roast Beet Salad

3 oz. arugula
4 cups roast baby beets
1 cup toasted walnuts
3 oz. goat cheese crumbled
1 TBS horseradish
¼ cup Dijon vinaigrette
¼ beet vinaigrette

Beet Vinaigrette
Peels and any small pieces from roast beets
½ oz. red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
½ cup grape seed oil
¼ cup water
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Blend together in mixer until smooth

Dijon Vinaigrette

¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 TBS Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Blend together until emulsified

IMG_3788Toss beets with salt, fresh ground pepper and olive oil, spread on sheet pan and roast in preheated oven at 350 degrees until soft to touch

Let cool until able to hold and cut off ends, peel and cut into wedges (use peels and pieces in beet vinaigrette, or sub 2 small red beets).

Heat roasted beets in oven and place in a bowl with arugula, walnuts, goat cheese, and horseradish – add Dijon vinaigrette and toss.

Take beet vinaigrette and spoon onto plates in a sweeping motion or around edge of plate. This vinaigrette is for both color and taste.

Place salad on plate and arrange with beet vinaigrette to create a pleasing color and design.


Roast Dijon Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

3 lbs. pork tenderloin
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup soy sauce ( I use Lite Soy Sauce)
2 TBS brown sugar
2 tsp fresh thyme
½ cup canola oil
2 TBS minced ginger
2 TBS minced Garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

IMG_3811Mix all of the ingredients together except salt and fresh ground pepper.

Rub pork with mixture and let sit covered in the refrigerator for about 6 hours.

Season with salt and pepper.

Brown on all sides in a sauté pan with oil.

Place in 350-degree pre heated oven for 20- 25 minutes until cooked—internal temperature around 150 degrees.




Apple Cider Braised Red Cabbage

½ head of red cabbage, about 1.5 lbs., cored and sliced thin
1 onion julienned
3 strips bacon
¼ lb. unsalted butter
1 cup apple cider
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
2 TBS brown sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

IMG_3807Cook bacon until crisp in a pot over medium heat. Remove and set aside.

Add butter and let melt. Add onions and sauté until begins to brown.

Add red cabbage and cook until soft. Add apple cider, vinegar, honey and brown sugar and mix.

Reduce heat and allow liquid to simmer. When reduced add crumbled bacon and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.


Apple Raisin Compote

5 Granny Smith Apples- peeled, cored, sliced
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup water

Mix together in pot and cook over medium heat until desired consistency is reached—crunchy, soft, whatever you like

Apple Jack Brandy Sauce

46 oz. bottle apple juice
3 red delicious apples
3 jumbo brown onions
2 TBS cloves
2 cups Apple Jack Brandy—we use Laird’s

Place apple juice, apples, onions and cloves in a pot and simmer until reduced by half.
Add Apple Jack Brandy and let flame, and continue simmering until sauce thickens slightly.
Strain and it is ready to use.

To Plate the Dish

Place the cabbage in the middle of your serving plate. Slice pork tenderloin and arrange around cabbage. Spoon some compote lightly on pork and place remaining in a dish on the side. Sauce pork lightly and serve remaining sauce in a dish on the side. We used to serve this dish with Parmesan potato cakes, but it is great with a good mashed potato. Enjoy


IMG_3818Pear & Cranberry Crumble

Crumble topping:

1 – 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cup rolled oats
2 TBS flour
1/4 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. allspice
3oz. butter; cold, cut into small cubes

Pear & Cranberry filling:

12 pears; peeled, halved, cored; each half cut into 6 wedges
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 -1/2 tsps. ground ginger
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup dried cranberries
3 TBS flour Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream for serving

Crumble Topping:

Mix brown sugar, oats, flour, salt, and allspice together in a bowl. Add butter and mix in with fingers or pastry cutter until butter has been evenly distributed and mixture has crumbly appearance. Set aside.

For filling:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all ingredients except for flour in bowl and let sit for a few minutes until sugar dissolves.
Place mixture into large sauté pan and cook over medium-low heat until pears start to soften and juices start to be released.
Taste and add more sugar or spices if desired.
Add flour and mix until flour is thoroughly incorporated.
Pour mixture into greased 8×8 baking dish; or can use smaller individual ramekins if desired.
Place even, thick layer of crumble topping over filling (may not use all of it).
Bake 30-35 minutes until topping is browned and filling is bubbling; 20-25 minutes if using smaller ramekins.
Let cool for a few minutes, then (if using large dish) scoop portions into bowls and top with ice cream or whipped cream.


Dessert recipe by Mark Stovall, Pastry Chef from Sage, Sage on the Coast and Canyon Restaurants.