Top chefs share crowd-pleasing fall recipes

New Mom eats

Chef Stephanie Izard, best known for winning the fourth season of Bravo’s Top Chef, is a new mom to Ernie. She runs Girl& The Goat, Little Goat Diner and Duck Duck Goat.

More recently, having Ernie, I’ve started making some recipes for the slow cooker and casserole dishes that are awesome and that are really good for fall.

… I think [being a mom] will at least give me a better perspective on what kids want to eat. … Once he’s old enough to do little cooking things, it would be fun to have Ernie co-host some cooking parties.

Sweet Potato Gratin with Crispy Onions

Sweet Potato Gratin Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled

1 ½ cups heavy cream

1 tsp. brown sugar

½ Tbsp. red pepper flakes

3 oz. blue cheese

1 tsp. salt


-Using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut sweet potatoes into very thin circles.

-In a small pot, bring the cream to a light simmer. Add red pepper flakes and brown sugar and whisk until fully combined. Crumble blue cheese into the hot cream and whisk until fully melted and combined.

-In a square baking dish, no larger than 8 x 8, place a single layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom. Cover with ¼ cup of cream mixture. Place another layer of sweet potatoes and ¼ cup of cream. Complete until all ingredients are used, ending with sweet potatoes on the top.

-Tightly cover the dish in foil and place in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Remove the foil and allow to cook for another 15 minutes.

Crispy Onions Ingredients

1 small sweet onion, sliced very thin

½ cup rice flour

2 cups canola oil


-Bring a small pot of oil to 225 degrees. Toss shaved onions with rice flour and shake off any excess. Fry in small batches so that the pan is not overcrowded.

-Onions should fry for about 2 minutes per batch, until they are golden brown. Remove from oil to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.

Fruits of labor

Chef Karen Urie Shields, with her husband Chef John Shields, opened West Loop restaurant, Smyth. They are the parents of two littles.

My favorite fall recipe is apple crisp. It reminds me of my childhood, it’s super easy to put together and can be adapted to what’s in season and/or healthy additions.

For my kids, I like to play around with adding wheat germ in place of some flour, nuts, whole grain oats, whole wheat flour or sunflower seeds. I love taking a recipe and replacing a few ingredients with some healthy choices and they don’t even know it!

I also have a big bag of the crisp topping stored away in my freezer because it’s the perfect dessert to make for a last-minute party or when you’re short on time.

All you have to do is peel and slice apples, top with frozen crisp crumbles and bake.

Apple Crisp


1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 cups all purpose flour

1 cups oats

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

1 ½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. salt

6 oz. softened butter

8 cups peeled and sliced apples


-Mix the dry ingredients until combined (by hand or in a mixer with a paddle). Add the softened butter and mix until chunky crumbles form.

-Peel, core and slice apples (I choose a variety of sweet and tart). Place apples in a lightly buttered 8×8 glass baking dish. Top with crisp topping. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the apples are bubbly and the crisp is browned.

Hearty yet unexpected

Johanna Mirpuri is best known as Momma Cuisine, a TV cooking personality, digital magazine publisher, executive producer and host of “In The Kitch.” She is the mom of three.

Nothing is better than a hearty chicken stew on a crisp fall evening. This recipe is Philippines-inspired with Spanish notes and is so delicious. (Find more yummy recipes at

Chicken Afritada Stew


1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium Spanish onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

4 chicken thighs, skin on

1 tsp. kosher salt


1 cup large chopped potato

1 cup large chopped carrots

½ cup diced red bell peppers

1 ½ jar Bertolli Riserva Marinara

¼ cup Spanish pimento stuffed green olives

¼ cup frozen peas


-Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat with olive oil. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season each piece with ¼ tsp. of salt and a sprinkle of paprika. Brown in the pan until skin is golden brown. It will not be cooked all the way through.

-After all of the chicken has a golden brown and crispy skin, take it off the heat. There may be excess fat and oil in the pan, so discard extra fat and only keep about 1-2 Tbsp. in the pan.

-Add all the vegetables except for the olives and green peas. Toss together and pour in one half jar of Bertolli Riserva Marinara sauce. Scrape the bits and pieces on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to lift all the flavors up into the sauce.

-Add the chicken thighs back in along with any of the juices that may have been on the plate. Then, add the olives and let simmer together, on low and covered. Occasionally uncover and stir gently, making sure the chicken is being covered in the sauce and cooking all the way through.

-Simmer for about 25 minutes.

-After 20-25 minutes, check to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through, scrape the bottom of the pan and add the frozen green peas. Stir and simmer for another 5 minutes.

-Serve over rice or with your favorite sides.

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