By Barbara Beltrami
One of the best things to do this season is go apple picking. Even though you still have to wear a mask and social distance (even from the limb of a tree!), it’s outdoors and the air is fresh. But after you unload your trunk with your harvest and stagger inside with those apples, then what do you do with them?
For most of us, the first thought is to munch them as we scuffle through leaves during an autumn walk or faithfully shove them in the lunch bags. If we’re feeling ambitious we might bake an apple pie or make applesauce. Those are all fine, but there are so many other things to do with apples. What about cooking them with cabbage and serving them with pork chops? A spicy apple cake? An apple-fennel salad? Take your pick! (pun intended)
Apple and Cabbage-Smothered Pork Chops
The apples and cabbage give a whole new dimension to the pork chops.
YIELD: Makes 4 servings
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Flour for dredging
4 thick pork chops
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 Granny Smith apples, pared, cored and sliced into 1/4” wedges
2 large onions, chopped
1 medium head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup beef stock
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh sage, leaves removed and chopped
In a shallow dish combine salt, pepper and flour; dredge pork chops in mixture. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat; add pork chops and cook, turning once, until lightly till lightly browned on both sides; remove and set aside.
Add apples and onions to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and apples are soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add cabbage and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add stock, wine, caraway seeds, bay leaf, sage, and more salt and pepper to taste.
Cook, uncovered until mixture comes to a boil, add pork chops, cover and simmer 1 to 1 1/4 hours until chops are fork tender. Remove bay leaf. Serve with pan juices, boiled potatoes and pickled beets.
This cake couldn’t be easier and will keep for days if everyone doesn’t gobble it up.
YIELD: Makes 12 servings
1 stick + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 level cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, pared, cored and diced
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13’ baking pan with the one tablespoon butter. In large bowl lightly whisk together the stick of butter, flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, apples, walnuts and eggs. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake 40 to 45 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Serve with pumpkin ice cream.
This is a spin-off of what used to be called Waldorf salad way back when. It’s full of crunch, texture and flavor.
YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings
4 Gala or Fuji apples. cored and diced
Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
1 fennel bulb, diced
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 endives, leaves separated
In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. In another large bowl combine the fennel, almonds, grapes, apples, mayonnaise and black pepper. Arrange endive leaves on salad plates, then scoop mixture onto them. Serve at room temperature with meat, poultry or fish.