7 Recipes to See You Through the Changing Seasons

What to cook when it's no longer summer, but doesn't quite feel like fall yet—plus, the wines to keep stocked.

October 14, 2021
Photo by MJ Kroeger. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi.

We've teamed up with Erath Winery—known for their critically acclaimed Oregon wines—to share cooking inspiration for the changing seasons. On the menu: light yet comforting dishes to ease you into the cooler weather, plus the best wines to pair 'em with.

While most people are sad to see summer go, I welcome its departure every year. (Farewell, 90 percent humidity and sweating through my T-shirt; I will not miss you.) Fall is my season—and my favorite time of year to cook.

I may not reach for a pumpkin spice anything the moment temperatures start to dip, but I do look forward to all the warm, comforting dishes (cheesy tray bakes, squash-filled stews, you get the picture) that come with sweater weather. But even though it's officially autumn at this point, it doesn't quite feel like it just yet; the leaves have yet to start falling and, at least in New York, it's still warm enough for shorts most days.

So right now my kitchen is in a bit of a transitional moment—I'm easing myself into that cozy fall feel, but still keeping things light and bright, flavor-wise. Same goes for what I'm drinking, too. I typically keep things easy during the week and stick with wine, especially if I'm having friends over for dinner. Right now I've got two bottles from Oregon (an exciting wine-growing region well worth exploring, if you haven't yet) in my rotation: Erath Winery's fruit-forward, very versatile Pinot Noir and also their Pinot Gris, which has bright citrus notes and a nice acidity that goes great with seafood, turkey, and even mildly spicy foods.

Here are seven dishes to see you through the changing seasons—plus, the wines I'd like to sip alongside 'em.

1. Miso-Mushroom Pasta

Red miso paste adds an extra layer of depth and umami to this creamy mushroom pasta that's anything but one-note. A dash of sherry vinegar keeps things bright, and a flurry of sliced scallions brings a green freshness, making this dish perfect for those in-between-weather days (not hot, but not cold, either). Pinot Noir is my pick here for playing off the miso's earthy, almost meaty qualities.

2. Vegetarian French Onion Soup With Asparagus & Cheesy Croutons

A steaming-hot bowl of French onion soup, typically topped with browned and bubbling Gruyère, feels custom-designed for a chilly night. This riff offers a freshened-up take, with vegan Worcestershire, cheddary croutons, and seasonal veg. For an early October version, try swapping out the asparagus for a heartier green, like kale or Swiss chard. You can go either way with wine here, depending on what you're feeling, but I'd stick with a lighter red, like Pinot Noir.

3. Roast Chicken With Mustard & Grapes

This simple, one-skillet roast chicken is packed with flavor thanks to a few carefully chosen ingredients, like sweet grapes (in season till October) and tangy Dijon. The addition of fresh thyme and brown mustard seeds lend an autumnal vibe to this dish, just right for this time of year. A juicy, crisp Pinot Gris cuts through all those punchy flavors nicely, particularly the creamy, mustardy pan sauce.

4. Orecchiette With Tiny Lamb Meatballs

These lamb meatballs may be miniature, but they're bursting with flavor, courtesy of harissa, garlic, coriander, and ginger. They make a wonderful addition to pasta (any shape will do, really) tossed in a simple sauce of canned tomatoes and onions, all dressed with pecorino and fresh parsley. Try a Pinot Noir with this one—the wine's rich fruit aromas (cherry, pomegranate, and currant) are a natural fit with the lamb and stewed tomatoes.

5. Golden Beet Cassoulet

Golden beets star in this produce-forward spin on classic cassoulet, a French stew traditionally slow-simmered with multiple types of pork or sometimes poultry. Like the recipe's author suggests, I can see myself curling up with a bowlful, wrapped in a blanket and sipping a glass of white wine.

6. Beef Short Rib Bourguignon With Garlicky Panko Gremolata

Another twist on a classic French stew, this bourguignon ditches the bacon and relies on boneless beef short ribs to bring deep, savory flavor to the table (which it does perfectly). A panko gremolata seasoned with parsley, lemon zest, and raw garlic give the dish a sharp, crunchy finish that'll have you coming back bite after bite. Red wine is a no-brainer, and while you might think to reach for something more full-bodied, Pinot Noir's smooth finish and gentle spice notes would be lovely here.

7. Stewed Cannellini Beans With Chorizo & Confit Rock Shrimp

Ready for cooler weather, this stewed bean recipe is described as "deeply savory and warm," yet the chives, lemon zest, and briny-sweet rock shrimp keep it from leaning too wintry. Pinot Gris is a natural pairing for seafood, especially shellfish, so stock up on a bottle the next time you plan to make this dish.

What's your favorite dish to welcome fall? Tell us in the comments below!

Our friends at Erath Winery have been pioneers in producing Oregon wines since 1969, when founder Dick Erath (an engineer turned viticulturist) was first inspired to pursue winemaking after an early garage experiment. Today, Erath Winery makes some of the best Pinot Noir the region has to offer—including their 2019 Oregon Pinot Noir—as well as other varietals, like their deliciously versatile 2019 Oregon Pinot Gris.

©2021 Erath Winery, Amity, OR
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Erin Alexander is the Brand Partnerships Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.