Thursday Recipe Roundup – Fall Cooking with Atlanta Chefs

With the cooler temps and shorter days, we’re no longer grilling and dining al fresco. We’re moving things indoors and turning to hearty soups and cozy crock pot meals from the kitchen. I absolutely love to grill and be outside, so I am not looking forward to being cooped up inside this winter. The good news is that we are in that great in-between season where you can still spend the days outside and the nights inside cozied up and cooking!

I love the typical fall foods, like pumpkin, potatoes and squash, but want to shake things up this season and experiment with some different fall superfoods, like parsnips, pears, turnips or brussels. The only problem is I have no idea how. Luckily, we’ve got some pretty important friends around town – and these friends happen to be in the Google+ circle of some of Atlanta’s top chefs. Just kidding, nobody uses Google+!  Anyway, these chefs are sharing their favorite fall recipes to spice up your kitchen! With these restaurant-quality recipes you’ll be sure to wow your guests at your next dinner party…so please invite us over when you make them!!

A little about the restaurants, chefs and their favorite fall recipes:

Better Half, Chef Zach Meloy

BETTER HALF (opened Dec 2013) is the first Atlanta brick-and-mortar restaurant from Zach and Cristina Meloy, the husband-and-wife duo behind celebrated underground supper club PushStart Kitchen. The menu, which changes daily (with no repeat dishes except the luxurious silk handkerchief pasta with wild mushrooms that Zach served to Cristina on their first date – DAWWWWW) features market-driven cuisine (clearly their specialty) inspired by ingredients from the American Southeast and Costa Rica. Better Half only seats for 46 guests and is located in midtown at 349 14th Street (between State Street and Atlantic Drive). Note: open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.


Warm Salad of Brussels Sprouts, Parsnip Puree, Charred Apple Vinaigrette, Manchego, courtesy of Better Half’s Executive Chef Zach Meloy

Serves four as a first course

For the charred apple vinaigrette:

1 local apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp stone ground mustard

3 tbsp honey

Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium sauté pan until lightly smoking. Add chunks of apple and leave untouched until apple begins to char and get a very deep brown color. Deglaze the pan with cider vinegar and reduce heat to medium. Cook until apples are very soft. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. In a blender, puree apples and vinegar. Add mustard and honey. With motor running, slowly drizzle in remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

or parsnip puree:

3 to 4 medium parsnips peeled and roughly chopped

3 tablespoons butter

Kosher salt and pepper

In a medium pot, cover parsnips in cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until parsnips are very tender. Transfer parsnips to blender, reserving the cooking liquid. Blend parsnips and add butter while motor is running. To adjust thickness, add parsnip cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and cool.

For the Brussels sprouts:

32 medium Brussels sprouts

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

One piece of Manchego or any salty cheese for shaving

Canola oil

Fill a small bowl and a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. While it heats, trim the woody stem off of each sprout. Peel off and reserve outer leaves. When water comes to a boil, add cleaned sprouts. Blanch until a sharp knife can be inserted and easily slid out. Transfer sprouts to large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. While water is still boiling, add trimmed outer leaves. Submerge in the boiling water and immediately transfer to small bowl of ice water. Cut each sprout in half through the stem. In a large sauté pan, heat canola oil until lightly smoking. Liberally season sprouts with salt and pepper and add cut side down to the pan. Cook on one side until deep brown color is achieved. Remove from heat and while warm, toss in charred apple vinaigrette.

To assemble:

Dress each plate with parsnip puree. Top with dressed Brussels sprouts, and garnish with blanched outer leaves. Shave strips of Manchego on top.

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Poached Chicken with Pear Marmalade, Charred Onion, Shaved Hakeruai Turnip, courtesy of Better Half’s Executive Chef Zach Meloy

Serves four as a light entrée

For the pear marmalade:

4 firm pears, peeled and diced

1 small white onion finely diced

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tbsp cold butter

In a small pot, combine pear, onion, vinegar + sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer until most of the liquid has reduced and has become syrupy. Stir in cold butter and cracked pepper. Set aside to cool.

For the charred onion:

1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1″ thick slabs

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp cider vinegar

Kosher salt and pepper

Liberally season both sides of the onion slabs with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan heat oil to smoking. Add onion slabs and cook until completely charred and black. Flip and cook other sides until charred. Transfer onions to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Onions will steam while they cool. When they are room temperature, transfer to food processor and chop until very fine. Add honey and vinegar and adjust seasoning. Reserve.

For the poached chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 quart chicken broth

1 cup apple cider

1 cup cider vinegar

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

1 split serrano Chile

2 hakeruai turnips

Kosher salt

In a large pot, combine chicken broth, cider, cider vinegar, garlic, cinnamon and serrano. Bring to a boil. Liberally season with salt. Add chicken breast and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until meat is very firm (about 10 minutes). Remove from liquid and allow to rest for five minutes.

To assemble:

On each plate, spoon a little of both charred onion relish and pear marmalade. Slice chicken and lightly salt, then plate. Thinly shave hakeurai turnips and use to garnish.

Poached Chicken

Southbound, Chef Ryan Smith

Southbound (a BEAUTIFUL restaurant that just opened this summer) is housed in a historic, former Masonic lodge in Chamblee, Georgia, just 15 minutes from midtown Atlanta (who knew Chamblee was so close?) You may recognize the Executive Chef, Ryan Smith, formerly of Watershed fame, running the market-driven menu that homage to classic Southern cuisine while incorporating local foods from farms right down the street. They also have an ornately carved bar made of reclaimed from the historic Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Located at 5394 Peachtree Rd, Chamblee, GA, 30341.

Southbound Restaurant 9_Photo by Tyler Oxford

Southbound Restaurant 11_Photo by Tyler Oxford

Pear and Parsnip Soup with Pistachio, courtesy of Southbound‘s Executive Chef Ryan Smith


4 cups diced Vidalia or yellow onion

1/4 cup sliced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

3 lbs peeled and sliced parsnip

2 Bosc pears peeled and sliced

1 gal mushroom (or vegetable) stock

1 tbsp salt (or to taste)

1 tbsp chopped thyme



  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium low heat
  2. Add the olive oil to the pot and cook the onion, garlic and salt for 5-10 minutes or until very soft and sweet, but careful not to brown.
  3. Add parsnip, pear, thyme and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until parsnips are soft but not mushy and falling apart. Transfer soup to a blender and blend on high until very, very smooth.
  4. Toast pistachios in a 350 degree oven for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Garnish soup with pistachios and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve.

Southbound fall soup


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