Apples are full of nutrients, promote healthy teeth and gums, pack a lot of flavor, and are a genuine crowd-pleaser. So why do most fall recipes relegate them to the dessert table? Apples add an extra flair to many main dishes and are so versatile that they’ll help you reinvent your worn-out, overdone fall meals.
Apple season is here. It won’t stick around for long, so get ready to stretch your creative cooking muscles and make sure that everyone in your family gets their daily helping of fall fruit.
Choosing the Right Variety for the Job
If you want your apple dishes to really sing, you need the right kind of apples. The common grocery-store varieties tend to promote color and crunch over taste, so if you want to cook with apples, find a new supplier. Local orchards and farmer’s markets usually offer a much wider selection of apple varieties. Experiment with heritage breeds and new hybrids. My personal favorite for cooking is the Stayman Winesap. These apples are crunchy, but they taste like cider. Their rich flavor adds oomph to almost any recipe.
If possible, go organic to avoid pesticides. It’s always a good idea to wash them well with soap and water. Also, feel free to peel. For most recipes, the apple skin is unnecessary.
Pot Roast with Apples
Pot roast is probably the king of fall recipes. It’s packed with vegetables and makes a rich, hearty meal for busy families. Still, the standard pot roast can quickly become run of the mill, but the addition of apples will bring a hint of sweetness and make the flavor more complex. Peel and core three or four large apples. Dice them and add them to the pot along with carrots and celery. Cook as usual.
Curried Squash . . . and Apples?
Apples are not a traditional curry ingredient, but they deserve a place in your repertoire. Many curries demand honey or sugar to add sweet to the savory. Try reducing the sugar and adding two to three cups of diced apple.
While apple goes well with any curry recipe, I’ve found that it’s especially delicious in a squash curry. The squash provides a hearty meal for the vegetarians in your life, and the apple makes the dish especially filling. Squash-and-apple curry is one fall recipe that my family looks forward to for months.
Grilled Apple and Sharp Cheddar Sandwiches
Tomato season may be over, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with plain grilled cheese. Take a page from midwestern cuisine, where cheddar cheese goes with apple pies, and make the treat without the sweet. Cut your favorite apple variety into thin slices, around 1/8-inch thick. Pair the apple with sharp cheddar, and grill. You’ll be in for a pleasant, satisfying surprise.
What creative uses have you found for apples in your own fall recipes?
Image source: Flickr