Apples in my household aren’t just for snacking and sweet treats.
A fall-into-winter staple in my fridge, apples add bursts of flavor and fiber to the season’s heavier menus. They’re a nearly effortless addition to green salads and slaws. The range of natural acid and sugar in apples allows cooks to adapt them to myriad dishes.
Take, for example, a method I’ve dubbed skillet or sheet-pan apples. Very simply, I roast or saute chicken parts or sausages, then near the end of cooking time, in the meat juices, I add peeled and sliced apples to the pan.
The fruit softens in about 10 minutes, soaks up some of the meat’s savor, then finishes in a sauce achieved from deglazing the pan with apple cider or apple cider vinegar. Add some sauerkraut on the side for a comforting, filling fall meal that’s a hit with my family.
Similar in concept but more traditionally sweet are these apples sauteed in butter with raisins and cinnamon, yielding sort of a crustless apple strudel. Top them with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, flavored with just a smidge of smoked or sweet paprika for intrigue.
Find more apple recipes and my method for apple butter in this week’s food section.
Tribune News Service photo
Skillet Apples With Smoked-Paprika Whipped Cream
5 small Honey Crisp apples, about 1 1/2 pounds total
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup each: packed dark brown sugar, raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika (optional)
Spice cookies or shortbread cookies, for serving
Peel the apples and cut into quarters. Remove cores and cut each apple quarter into 3 slices.
Heat a large, well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; add the butter and apples. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
Stir in the sugar, raisins and cinnamon. Cook and stir until apples are fork-tender, for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, beat the cream until soft beaks form. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and paprika, if using, just to mix.
Serve warm apples with their pan juices in small bowls. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. Pass the cookies.
Makes 6 servings.