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Recipes from a Farm Kitchen

Photos by Prairie Wind Family Farm

"November is a time of year when we look back on the farm’s growing season and consider what we’d like to learn and improve for the next growing season. Before we hit the books, we enjoy a warming fall meal that features fresh fall produce. Here are a few of my favorites that are great for hearty lunches or simple dinners,” says Jen Miller, of Prairie Wind Family Farm, in Grayslake.

Sautéed Carrots, Parsnips and Leeks

Yields: 4 servings

3 med. leeks (white and pale green parts only)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ lb carrots, cut diagonally into 1¼-inch pieces

½ lb parsnips, cut diagonally into 1¼-inch pieces

1¼ cups water

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Drizzle of honey

Halve leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces and wash. Sauté leeks in butter with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until softened, 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir in carrots, parsnips, water, and vinegar. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Boil, uncovered, until liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Drizzle honey on top, add salt and pepper to taste.


Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash

Use this as a side or let cool and add to salad greens with a sprinkle of walnuts.

Yields: 2 to 3 servings

2 medium delicata squash (about 2 lb), halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch rings

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

3 fresh thyme sprigs

¼ tsp red-pepper flakes

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup

Kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° F degrees. Place the squash, red onion, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Spread vegetables evenly onto one large, rimmed baking sheet.

Bake the squash, rotating the pan position half way through cooking, until tender and browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and season again with more salt and pepper, if desired.  


Kale, White Bean and Tomato Soup

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 stick celery, chopped (optional)

Salt to taste

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes, with juice

6 cups water

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp oregano

1 medium russet potato (about 6 oz), diced

A bouquet garnish made with a bay leaf, a couple of sprigs each parsley and thyme, and a Parmesan rind (optional – but it does add flavor; use what you have for this)

1 bunch kale, stemmed, washed thoroughly, and chopped or cut in slivers (4 cups chopped)

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

Freshly ground pepper

Grated Parmesan for serving

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot and add the onion, carrot, and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and juice from the can, add another pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly. Add the water, tomato paste, oregano, potato, and salt to taste.

Bring to a boil, add the bouquet garnish, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just about tender. Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes, until the kale and potatoes are tender and the soup is fragrant.

Taste, adjust salt, and add pepper. Stir in the beans and heat through for 5 minutes. Serve, sprinkling some Parmesan over each bowl. The soup tastes even better on the second day, and will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Recipes courtesy of Jen Miller, of Prairie Wind Family Farm, which grows a wide variety of certified organic vegetables and pasture-raised hens for eggs, and provides fresh fruit to CSA members, delivered to north and western suburban locations, and area farmers’ markets. For more information, a schedule of farm events and to sign up for the 2020 harvest, visit