The Fruit of Culinary Knowledge

Apple season is here again, so it’s time to round up the kids and take a day trip to the apple orchard and bring home lots of apples and even more memories. If, after you’ve finished “Instagramming” all those adorable orchard pics and making quarts of applesauce as well as the ubiquitous apple crisp for dessert, you find yourself with a few extra apples tumbling around the pantry, why not go out on a limb and give one of these unique apple recipes a try.

This soup may be full of simple autumn flavors, but don’t mistake simple for boring. Tart apples, creamy butternut squash and a grating of fresh nutmeg simmer together to create a delicate balance of sweet, tart and creamy. Warm, crunchy cheesy croutons complete the dish. This freezes well, so plan on keeping a quart or two in the freezer to reheat for an easy lunch or dinner. The croutons won’t freeze well so plan on making them as you need them.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan Sage Croutons

Yield: approx. 8 servings

For the Soup:

4 medium or 3 large apples (I used a combination of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith), peeled, cored and chopped

apple-squash-soup

A few simple ingredients, simmered briefly on the stove come together in this creamy soup full of autumn flavors.

3 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped

¼ cup white wine

1 medium (3-4 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken broth (plus more for thinning the soup, optional)

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup of half and half

Chopped, toasted pecans for garnish

For the croutons:

6 thick slices of sour dough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 Tablespoons minced fresh sage

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Toss the prepared apples with the apple cider vinegar; set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low heat; add the onions and cook over low heat until tender and slightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the onions are sweet and soft, stir in the wine to deglaze the pan taking care to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the squash and apples to the pot; add the chicken broth, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the squash is very soft.

While the soup is simmering, prepare the croutons. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss the bread cubes with the olive oil, minced sage and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp and brown, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese; set aside until ready to serve.

When the apples and squash are tender, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the soup until smooth. Add extra warmed chicken broth if you want a thinner soup. Return the soup to low heat and stir in the half and half; keep very hot but do not boil.

Taste and adjust the seasoning; serve hot topped with Parmesan Sage Croutons and a sprinkle of chopped pecans.

 

Move over Strawberry Short Cake, the leaves are changing and there is a new kid on the block. Top sweet biscuits with delicious fried apple slices and a dollop of vanilla ice cream and serve Fried Apple Biscuits for a delicious dessert or a decadent breakfast.

Fried Apple Biscuits

Yield: 8-10 dessert servings

For the Biscuits

apple-biscuits

An autumn twist on strawberry shortcake, these Fried Apple Biscuits will leave them begging for more. Don’t forget a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

2 cups self-rising flour

¼ cup packed brown sugar

6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

2 Tablespoons of apple juice concentrate (frozen apple juice concentrate that’s been thawed is fine)

1/3 to ½ cup of milk

For the Apples

¼ cup of butter

2-3 cups peeled, cored and sliced tart apples like Granny Smith or McIntosh

1 teaspoon lemon juice

¼ cup brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoon apple pie spice

½ cup chopped pecans

1 ½ cups apple cider

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 425°F

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar; cut the butter into the flour until the butter is in small pieces; combine the apple juice concentrate with 1/3 cup of milk and add to the flour mixture; stir until just combined. Dribble in more milk if necessary to make a workable dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and pat it into a 6- to 6½-inch circle; cut into circles with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Pile the leftover scraps of dough together, pat into a circle and continue cutting biscuits until the dough is used or you have 8-10 biscuits.

Place the biscuits on a baking sheet, leaving 2-inches of room between. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until they are golden brown; remove from the oven and keep warm until service.

While the biscuits are baking prepare the apple topping. Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat; add the apples in a single layer. Top the apples with the lemon juice, brown sugar and apple pie spice. Cover and simmer until tender.

Remove the apples from the skillet, leaving the pan juices. In measuring cup, whisk the cornstarch into the apple cider and blend until there are no lumps. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the apple pan juices and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened. Return the apples to the pan. Stir to combine.

To serve: Split the biscuits and spoon apples over the bottom biscuit; divide any leftover apples and juice among the biscuits evenly. Place the tops of the biscuits over the apples and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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