Why the Best of Apple Season Isn't Over Yet
The market has been a little unstable lately, and as a chef, that makes me want to return to the ingredients and flavors I know best. Apples of all varieties are doing extremely well right now, and their subtle sweetness and adaptable texture can carry through into many cooking applications.
Apples are delicious in a long-cooked ragu with pork shoulder, onions, and marjoram, perhaps a splash of Calvados to de-glaze the pot. For those of us who’s grills aren’t covered with snow yet, one of my current favorite dishes is grilled lamb with fennel and apple chutney. Pistachios and fresh shallots thrown in right at the end create a zingy pop of color and texture.
And dessert, of course, cannot be missed. I love making a Tarte Tatin-inspired filling of deeply caramelized apples, brown butter, sugar, and a bit of brandy to use as a filling for crepes or poured over vanilla ice cream.
Apples are also beautiful simply poached in cardamom and clementine syrup. You can use the simple syrup leftover to make warm, spiced holiday cocktails!
I adore poached apples for winter desserts. You don’t have to turn the oven on, which is great because this time of year, there is always something else taking up space in there anyway. Plus, they can be made in advance and then simply adorned with vanilla ice cream.
Just the kind of no-fuss offering we all need when we’d rather cozying up next to the fire with our friends and family. Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, and Braeburn are all great choice for this dessert because they are floral and firm enough to hold their shape during poaching.
Red Wine-Poached Apples
4 cups red wine (I use an inexpensive, medium-dry wine)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup orange juice
Peels from 1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
A small handful of thyme
6 firm but ripe Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, or Braeburn apples, peeled, cored, stems left intact
Combine everything, except the apples in a large, heavy saucepan.
Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer.
Add apples, and bring everything back up to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer slowly until apples are tender when pierced with knife, about 25 minutes.
Transfer apples to a plate or platter.
Boil liquid in saucepan until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes for a luxurious sauce. Sometimes I also add a splash of balsamic vinegar to mine for an extra zing!
Serve with vanilla ice cream or clouds of freshly whipped cream.
About the Chef
Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.