Healthy September Recipes:

September is the bridge between summer and autumn, and in this recipe collection we have included dishes for both seasons.

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Sumac Brown Butter
4 chicken leg quarters 3 kg
3¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 medium butternut squash, halved and cut into ½ inch slices
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sumac (or coriander powder if sumac unavailable)
1 teaspoon aleppo pepper (or cayenne pepper if aleppo unavailable)
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, 8 hours or overnight.

Let chicken come to room temperature (about 1 hour). Preheat oven to 230°C. Add butternut squash to baking sheet; drizzle chicken and butternut squash with olive oil. Sprinkle squash with 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper. Tuck thyme sprigs around chicken mixture. Bake in preheated oven until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken registers 75°C and squash is tender, about 35 minutes. Transfer chicken and squash to a platter. Discard thyme sprigs; reserve pan juices.

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally, until browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Scrape pan juices from baking sheet into saucepan. Whisk in honey, ½ teaspoon sumac, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon zest, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Drizzle over chicken and butternut squash. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, thyme leaves, and remaining ½ teaspoon sumac.

Sweet Potato Fritters with Lemon-Tahini Sauce
¾ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely grated
½ teaspoon black pepper
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded on a box grater
1 kg turnips, peeled and coarsely shredded on a box grater
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Vegetable oil, for frying
Baby kale, for serving

Whisk together yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place a colander over a large bowl; add sweet potatoes, turnips, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt; toss to combine. Let mixture stand 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a clean kitchen towel; gather up edges, and squeeze out excess liquid. Transfer sweet potato mixture to a medium bowl.

Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Add leeks and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cooked leeks, eggs, flour, cumin, turmeric and ginger to sweet potato mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

Wipe out skillet, and add a ⅛inch layer of vegetable oil. Heat over medium until melted. Working in batches, spoon 2 tablespoons of batter for each fritter into skillet about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with a spatula. Cook until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt to taste. Add more oil to skillet between batches as needed. Serve with lemon-tahini sauce and kale.

Whole Baked Pumpkin Soup

2 (3 to 3½ kg) whole orange pumpkins
1½ cups (12 ounces) dry white wine
2 teaspoons oil
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
14 tablespoons tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 230°C. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place whole pumpkins on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until very tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour wine into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high and boil, without stirring, until wine has reduced by about half, about 10 minutes. Keep warm; set aside.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Add pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring often, until seeds are puffed, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt; set aside.

In the same skillet, melt 7 tablespoons butter over medium. Cook, stirring often, until butter browns, about 6 minutes. Set aside.

Remove skin and stems from pumpkins and cut pumpkins in half. Scoop out and discard seeds. Working in 3 batches, combine hot pumpkin, 3½ cups water, and remaining 7 tablespoons butter in a blender. Remove centre piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 1 minute per batch adding more water depending on preference to thin or thick soupl. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in reduced wine and remaining 2 teaspoons salt.

Sprinkle servings with sautéed pumpkin seeds and drizzle with brown butter.

Pears in Moscatel
1 (750 ml) bottle of Moscatel bottles sweet Mediterranean Muscat dessert wine
3 tablespoons honey
4 thyme sprigs
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
Small pinch of saffron threads
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 medium-size unripe to barely ripe pears (about 15 ounces)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 cups boiling water
Fromage blanc or crème fraîche, for serving

Combine wine, honey, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, fennel seeds, saffron and salt in a small (3- to 4-quart) casserole dish. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel pears and cut in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, remove seeds and core from each half, carving out neat half-spheres.

Brush pear halves all over with lemon juice.

Add pears to wine mixture in a single layer. Add 1 cup boiling water or more as needed to just submerge pear halves. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low until tender, 30 to 35 minutes, turning pears every 8 to 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a plate and set aside.

Bring poaching liquid to a light boil over medium and boil, stirring occasionally, until sweet, syrupy and reduced to about ¾ cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour syrup through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids.

Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons fromage blanc onto each of 4 shallow bowls or rimmed dessert plates. Nestle 1 pear half into fromage blanc, upright, if desired. Drizzle each pear half with 2 to 3 tablespoons syrup.

Serve warm or chilled.