Bringing home the harvest

Kick-start autumn with these two seasonal dishes

With autumn upon us, it’s time to tuck into cosy, seasonal favourites. Many fruit and vegetable varieties are at their seasonal best right now – including the fennel, squash, pears, mushrooms and walnuts featured in this month’s two recipes.

Cook up a roast to impress, with Donald Russell’s rich and flavoursome pork belly recipe, or try Riverford’s tasty salad – perfect as a vegetarian alternative or a hearty side dish.

Pork belly with fennel and pears

Serves 4

Pork belly with fennel and pears



For the roast:

  • 1.2kg pork belly
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 100–250ml water (enough to cover the bottom of your roasting tin by approx. 1”)
  • 4–6 pears, peeled but not cored, and cut in half lengthways (best if not too ripe)

For the loose stuffing accompaniment:

  • 100g bread, diced into chunky cubes (white or brown – stale bread is good)
  • 1 large stick celery, cut into 1/4” chunks
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground mace (or 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • 2 tsp English mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F / Gas 3.

Place the pork in an ovenproof roasting tin, and rub a mixture of the salt and fennel all over the skin. Add the water to the bottom of the pan, and roast for 3 hours.

Add the pears to the roasting tin, around the edge of the belly. Briefly baste them in the pork fat, before popping the tin back in the oven and continuing to roast it all for a further 30 to 40 minutes. Combine all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Once the pork is done, remove it and the pears from the pan and cover loosely with foil, leaving to rest somewhere warm for 10 minutes. If the crackling isn’t as crisp as you’d like it, simply pop the roast under the grill for a few minutes.

Put the tin on the hob over a medium heat, and add the loose stuffing ingredients to the warm pan juices. Sauté, stirring gently, until the bread has a nice colour.

Slice the pork and serve with some mashed potatoes, the pears and the loose stuffing.

Member savings

Save more than £6 on pork belly, with Donald Russell

Virgin Wines recommends the El Boqueron Icono Tierra de Castilla 2009 – its soft, rich palate works a treat with the pork belly. This wine is available in the AA Summer Essentials Mixed Selection – AA members save more than £64.


Wheatberry salad with roasted squash

Serves 4

Wheatberry salad with roasted squash


  • 400g wheatberries (wheat grain – or use spelt, farro or barley)
  • 1 large or 2 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Small knob of butter
  • 4 leeks, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 sage leaves, shredded
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and grated
  • Large handful chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 200?C / 400°F / Gas 6, and bring a pan of water to the boil.  Add the wheatberries to the pan and cook for 45 minutes or so, until tender but still chewy.

Toss the diced squash in enough oil to coat, with half the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until tender.

Heat the butter and 2 tbsp oil in a large pan. Fry the leeks for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for 2 more minutes. Add the mushrooms, the rest of the thyme and the sage, and season.

Fry until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates, then add the vegetable stock and stir for 2 minutes.

Drain the wheatberries, and toss into the mix with the squash, grated carrot and parsley. Check the seasoning and serve.

Member savings

Virgin Wines recommends the Coorong Sounds Padthaway Viognier 2012  – its lovely fresh flavours are a perfect match for the salad’s autumnal flavours. This wine is available in the AA Summer Mixed WineBank Welcome Case – AA members save more than 50%.

Place a regular order with Riverford Organics and receive a free Riverford Farm cookbook, worth £16.99.

Full details

(22 November 2013)


Quick quiz

Try our simple quiz, for a chance to win a £20 AA Rosette restaurant voucher

The AA Rewards quiz

Save 10%

Members can now save 10% at Moto M&S every day.

Find out more
M&S at Moto