I pretty much always want something braised for dinner, and as much as I love braising the legs of a cow, pig, or lamb, they take a few hours to get tender and thus aren’t always the best option for a weeknight. A chicken’s legs, on the other hand, braise in less than an hour, so you can have a righteous braised dish any night of the stupid week! This super simple stew is inspired by autumn flavors, using bacon, fennel, and apples (both fresh and in hard apple cider). You could totally swap out the hard cider if you’re not into the alcohol, but I would use chicken stock or water rather than apple juice or fresh cider, either of which would make it a little too sweet. There’s something about the smoky, salty, sweet, and slightly bitter elements of this dish, cooked down with chicken that is just starting to fall apart, that makes me want to smoke cigars and write a novel, but I don’t actually like cigars, and if I wrote a novel, it would just be a fictional cookbook, so it’s probably better to stick with cooking chicken for now.
This recipe starts with the funny act of putting whole apples in the freezer and ends with one of the most electric desserts you’ve ever had. In the middle, when you rip the thawed apples in half with your bare hands, you get to feel like a bodybuilder on Muscle Beach or a very strong raccoon.
I keep a small zip-top bag full of apple cores, peels, and other scraps in my freezer, and I add to it every time I cut an apple for a snack or make a batch of cider. When I have enough to pack into a canning jar, I turn those scraps into vinegar. Essentially, this works by mixing the scraps with water and sugar, letting it ferment, and then ignoring it until the liquid turns into vinegar. The resulting vinegar is slightly less intense and flavorful than “real” vinegar, but still perfectly tasty for making everything from salad dressing to tri-tip marinade.
The hallmark of Dutch apple pie is its creamy apple filling, but we didn’t rely on the traditional cream to achieve it. Instead we added melted vanilla ice cream to the apple filling for extra creaminess and a rich vanilla flavor that nicely complements apple pie.
My mom would make a version of this classic salad all the time when I was growing up, often to accompany baked beans and “red snappy” hot dogs as a sneaky way to get in some fruits and veggies. I still love the combination of flavors, but now I like to up the ante with fennel and candied walnuts, which are sweet and salty in all the right ways.
I’ve eaten many, many apple cakes in my life. German strudel... love it! English apple pie... simply divine! But this fat-free recipe from my Aunt Rose is something totally different. Simple, healthy and so quick you will be able to make it in under an hour.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to combine and serve.
This brings back memories of the festive family tables where I cooked these in large quantities. You can make this dish hot by adding chili flakes or powder, imparting a beautiful yet contrasting flavor of pungency, combined with the sweetness of yams and apple. Sweet potatoes are commonly used in place of yams, as they are more easily available and similar in taste and texture. Yams should be thoroughly scrubbed before cooking.
To make the mustard dressing, place the mustard, vinegar, juice, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Arrange the the celeriac, celery, leaves and apple on plates and spoon over the dressing.