A Feast of Food Pairing Ideas for Autumn Maple

Autumn is here and it’s time to take a look at the great seasonal eats on the horizon as the leaves turn. This guest post comes from cookbook author and freelance writer (and our friend!) Randy Clemens:

Autumn Maple is a beautiful thing. Chock full of yams and the perennial potpourri of pumpkin pie spices, it’s pretty much a natural choice to have alongside a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. But that’s just a little too predictable for you, isn’t it? You want to dig a little deeper because you’re a gourmand. You’re clever… and I like that about you.

Funny enough, when I gave Saison Rue a shout out in a piece I did on beer pairing last year, I got an email shortly thereafter from The Bruery’s Director of Marketing, Benjamin Weiss, exclaiming, “You put a Bruery beer in a Thanksgiving article… and it wasn’t Autumn Maple?! You are crazy!!!”

So, what else could you pair with Autumn Maple? I thought you’d never ask. Here are a few of my favorite things to match it up with:

Brie with fig jam and almonds. Take a wedge—or a whole wheel—of Brie or Camembert and split it in half horizontally. (A long bread knife works well for this, and you want the cheese to be cold.) Smear a thin layer of fig jam over the bottom half. Top with chopped marcona almonds. (Bonus points for adding a little bit of caramelized onion, too.) Replace the top half over the dainty bottom, press down slightly, and let guests smear it on crostini or crackers. Or just grab a spoon when nobody’s looking… and commence shoveling into your face. Nobody’s judging you here.

Roasted Brussels sprouts. Halve them, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then lay them out in a single layer on a sheet pan and cook at 375°F for about 30 minutes. Add copious amounts of minced garlic, return to the oven, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Risotto al funghi. Gotta love the hearty, earthy romance that ‘shrooms bring to the classic Italian comfort food. Want in on a little secret? That whole stir forever on the stovetop thing? Fugghedaboudit. Baked risotto is the way to go. Super easy and still nice and creamy. Here’s a favorite recipe of mine.

Pork loin or pork chops rubbed with mustard, minced garlic and rosemary, and roasted with sliced apples and red onion. I don’t eat meat anymore, but it would be selfish of me not to share this porcine delight with you. Whatever you do, don’t overcook it. Medium-rare to medium is where you wanna be. And please seek out pigs that weren’t confined to cages and abused their whole lives.

Dessert? Of course. The spice mix lends itself well to go up against your favorite coffee cake, apple strudel, and just about anything with white chocolate in it.

Brunch? Now you’re talking. Not only would it be stellar with French toast/waffles/pancakes, you can also mix some of it into the batter for some seriously excellent results. Stuffed French toast with apples or pears and a touch of mascarpone or crème fraîche would be ridiculous. Not much of sweets person? Fry up some latkes and go to town! L’chaim!

Or maybe you do just want to bring a bottle to your T-Day table. Hey, no complaints here! More power to you. It is mighty delicious with the bird and all the usual accoutrements. And anything that will help you get through a day with the in-laws is a plus, amirite?

Randy Clemens is a freelance food & drink writer based in Los Angeles. He’s the co-author of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. as well as the author of The Sriracha Cookbook and The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook. He also writes about beer for Los Angeles magazine, West Coaster, and Edible Westside. If you’re bored, you can follow his musings on Twitter: @RandyClemensEsq.

(photos borrowed from TasteSpotting.com, TheKitchn.com, AmandasApron.com, RachelCooks.com)

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