I am swimming in apples.
I just can’t get ahead of them. The whole kerfuffle started when a friend went apple picking and brought me home a massive bag. Since then, my CSA has provided a steady supply, and well. My recipe-brain has been stretched this fall, trying to think of more and more creative uses for all my apples.
Most often, I eat them simply: to lend a sweet snap to a ham sandwich. Or alone, with cheese and charcuterie (goat cheese and triple-crème are special favorites). They are nice with soups, as the weather turns, like tomato, carrot, or squash.
You can bake them in a crisp until the apple melts into itself, stirred together with nutmeg and golden sugar. Or bake them as they are until caramelized, with butter and apple cider. Top with ice cream or Greek yogurt.
There is something else to admit in all of this. As I’ve confessed previously, I harbor a deep and abiding love for Nigel Slater’s ode to fruit, Ripe. I am particularly romanced by the chapter devoted to apples.
I would challenge anyone who’s read it not to be. (And if you haven’t, you probably should; it is a source of endless wisdom and inspiration.) The names alone (Peasgood’s Nonsuch, Cornish Honeypin, Northern Spy…) are enough to help you pretend you’re cooking in the type of children’s book where forest animals meet for elderberry juice and political discussion in hollowed logs.
But as charmed as I am by apple appellations, I’ll be honest–there are very few apples I can pick out of a crowd. I have little grasp about cooking apples versus eating apples. All I know is that my crisper is currently playing host to a mélange that all look slightly different from one another.
So I usually hedge my bets: if I’m making a pie or some such, I pick an array. That way, I’m likely to get a few right. So far, nothing catastrophic has happened with my apple-cooking.
It’s worth mentioning that apples are remarkably adaptable to both sweet and savory cooking. Go forth and experiment!
The last thing I will say is that apples store very well. As long as you don’t have a bad one in the bunch, they will keep in your crisper for quite some time.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 pork sausages
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 small white onion
- 2 small apples
- 7 oz garbanzo beans (1/2 a can)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon Cognac
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup verjus
- sea salt, black pepper
- 4 potato hot dog buns (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 400F.
2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat, in a wide pan with sides at least 2 inches high. Meanwhile, poke holes in the sausage casings (this will allow the juices to release easily). When the oil is hot, add the sausages. Cook them for a few minutes, turning them as you go, so that they brown evenly. When the sausages are browned to your liking, remove them to a plate.
3. Mince the garlic and slice the onion thinly. Add them to the sausage pan, stirring to pick up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook the onion and garlic until fragrant and translucent.
4. While the garlic and onion are cooking, peel and core the apples. Slice them thinly, too. (I used a mandolin.) When the garlic and onion are cooked to your liking, add the apples. Stir to incorporate.
5. Add: the thyme, the Cognac, the chicken stock, and the verjus to the pan. Stir. Drain the chickpeas; add them to the pan. Let the liquid come to a simmer, and then move the pan to the oven. Cook for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the oven. (Be careful; it’s hot!) Move the sausages to a bowl, and then set the pan over high heat. Reduce until the sauce is thickened to your liking.
7. Take the pan off the heat. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add back the sausages and stir everything to combine. Serve warm, as is, or as sandwiches on lightly toasted potato hot dog buns.