Everyone has his or her own favorite recipes, the ones you make for holiday dinners or take to a friend’s home. But do you ever wonder what dishes our top local chefs prefer? Here are a few hand-picked fall dishes from three of Baltimore’s culinary elite:

Brian Boston

Brian Boston, Executive Chef/Owner, The Milton Inn (courtesy photo)

Brian Boston, Executive Chef/Owner, The Milton Inn

Recipe: Cranberry Relish

Award-winning Chef Boston takes the helm in the kitchen of his elegant dining oasis that now features a small plates menu in the more casual c. 1740 lounge and heated patio with fireplace.

“This is one of my favorite fall and winter season side dishes because it’s so versatile and can be paired with any type of poultry from turkey to duck, and game meats from rabbit to venison. It’s a very simple dish to make and will wow your guests because of its simplistic but nuanced flavors.”

The Milton Inn’s Cranberry Relish

1 apple diced

1 pear diced

4 cups fresh cranberries

1 shallot julienned

1 cup Earl Grey tea

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup whole butter

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup brandy

Juice and zest of 1 each orange and lime

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup candied ginger julienned or small dice

1 teaspoon of cinnamon ground

1 teaspoon star anise ground

Place all ingredients in a medium size thick-bottomed pot. Simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes.

Zack Mills

Zack Mills, Executive Chef, Wit & Wisdom

Zack Mills, Executive Chef, Wit & Wisdom

Recipe: Braised Lamb Shank

A native of Davidsonville, Md., Chef Mills is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and executive chef at Wit & Wisdom, Michael Mina’s upscale American tavern located in the Four Seasons Hotel.

“I enjoy braised meats during the fall and winter months. There’s something comforting about it and cassoulet is one of my all-time favorite staples that I learned to make back in culinary school. Once it’s braised, it’s just as good for the next few days. As far as pairings, I always go with an earthy Old World red like a Rosso di Montalcino.”

Wit & Wisdom’s Braised Lamb Shank

Wit & Wisdom’s Braised Lamb Shank (Photo courtesy Wit & Wisdom)

Wit & Wisdom’s Braised Lamb Shank

4 lamb shanks
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
½ bottle white wine
1 bay leaf
10 ounces chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Heat a large, deep saute pan to medium. In batches, sear shanks well on all sides and place into a roasting pan.
Place sliced onions into the saute pan and turn to low heat. Allow onions to caramelize then add white wine and reduce by half. Add chicken stock, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
Pour liquid over the shanks. Cover roasting pan with tin foil and cook in a 275-degree oven for 4 hours or until tender. Transfer shanks to a platter to cool.
Reduce liquid until thickened, and spoon over shanks. Garnish shanks with herb breadcrumbs and serve with Sea Island Pea Cassoulet and Roasted Turnips.

Sea Island Pea Cassoulet 
1 pound black-eyed peas, dried
3 teaspoons canola oil
1/8 cup fennel, small dice
1/8 cup carrot, peeled and dried
1/8 cup onion, diced small
1/8 cup celery, diced small
1 clove minced garlic
16 ounces pureed tomato

28 ounces chicken stock
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 sprig thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Cover peas in water and allow to soak for at least 12 hours before use.
In a large, round pan, heat canola oil and saute fennel, carrots, onions, celery and garlic for 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt; add peas and saute for 5 more minutes
Add tomato puree and chicken stock to cover peas. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Liquid will start to thicken.
4. Add chopped herbs and sherry vinegar; season with salt if needed.

Herb Breadcrumbs
1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
3 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat over to 250 degrees.

Bake panko until completely dry.

Allow to cool and then pulse in a food processor until the crumbs are very fine.
In a medium pan, heat butter. Add all of the herbs and allow the flavor to absorb into the butter. Add breadcrumbs and stir until lightly toasted. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and stir once more to combine.
Lay on a sheet tray and cool.

Roasted Turnips 
2 pounds baby turnips, stems removed and cut in half
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic
2  bay leaves
4  thyme sprigs

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss turnips with 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread turnips on baking sheet. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Transfer turnips to a platter and let cool.

Chef Adam Harper

Adam Harper, Executive Chef, Iron Bridge Wine Co. (Photo by Vince Culotta)

Adam Harper, Executive Chef, Iron Bridge Wine Co.

Recipe: Campfire S’mores Cake

Chef Harper offers a seasonal, New American menu and a celebrated wine collection in a warm, cozy café setting at the Iron Bridge Wine Co.

“One of my great joys is my daughter. Being 3, she loves the magic of sitting around a fire and having daddy help her make a “S’more.” The fall, the weather, and kids with pumpkins and leaves, just remind me that it’s time for chocolate, marshmallows and graham.”

Chocolate Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

½ cup and 1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

Lightly grease 4-ounce aluminum tin and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt into medium bowl.

In another medium bowl whisk together the butter, yogurt, vanilla, egg and sugars. Make a hole in the flour mixture and pour butter mixture into the hole. Using rubber spatula gently stir everything together until there are no more streaks of flour. Mixture will be thick

Fill 4-ounce aluminum tin evenly ¾ of the way

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until cake springs back when touched.

Let cool completely on wire rack

Marshmallow Fluff

3 egg whites

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

¾ cup light corn syrup

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixer with a metal bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar

When it starts to get foamy slowly pour the 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. At the same time in a saucepan heat the water, light corn syrup, and sugar and bring to a boil.

Heat to 242 degrees and remove from heat. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites (in the area between the whisks and the edge of the bowl)

Once it’s all added, turn the mixer up to high, add the vanilla extract and mix until it forms stiff peaks, is thick and looks like Marshmallow Fluff (2-3 minutes)

Graham crackers

½ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 ounces butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon molasses

¼ cup water + a little more if too dry

Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Cut in the butter until the texture is dry and crumbly.

In a small bowl, mix the honey, molasses and water. Mix with the dry ingredients until blended in the food processor. Pulse the dough until it forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out thin and cut with cookie cutters. Or you can do the traditional graham cracker shape. If you do this, cut dough into rectangles and poke each cracker with a fork. Place them on a baking sheet. We use a Silpat.

Bake for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp.

Randi Rom is the president of RJ Rom & Associates, a marketing, branding, events and public relations firm specializing in the hospitality and entertainment industries. She is a freelance columnist and writer who represents some of the region’s top restaurants and food-related events. Contact her at randirom@comcast.net.

 Top image: Campfire S’mores Cake by Adam Harper, Executive Chef, Iron Bridge Wine Co. (Photo by Vince Culotta)

Read more fun features from our first annual food issue now!

Tasty Times in Charm City, by Randi Rom

Baltimore-Area Chefs Share Their Favorite Recipes, by Randi Rom

From Gefilte Fish to Guacamole, by Jill Yesko

The Deli as a Symbol of the American Jewish Experience, by Richard Gorelick

A Farm-to-Table Thanksgiving Feast, by Joshua Rosenstein

Don’t Forget the Sides!, by Huppit Bartov Miller

The Siren Song of Shakshuka, by Amanda Krotki

Also see:

Food, Glorious Food!, by Alan Feiler

Two Decades of Dinners, by Dana Hemelt

Baltimore Hunger Project Strives for Full Bellies, by Lynne B. Kahn

Choosing Sides, by The Classic Catering People

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