Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I know I’ve been inundating you with fall flavors lately. I hope you don’t mind. I just can’t seem to resist the allure of crisp apples, bright pumpkin, and cozy spices. They call to me. They beg me to take them and make them into something delicious. And really, who am I to resist the siren song of my favorite season?
So bear with me, if you will, and indulge my fall flavor fanaticism just a wee bit longer. I promise you won’t be disappointed with what I have on deck. We’re talking all manner of warm (and cold) and cozy here. Cranberries are in season now, so they’ll be making some appearances. I still have more to tell you about all the wonderful things you can do with apples and pumpkin. Plus, to balance things out, I’ll make sure to throw in a few dinners and some sinful desserts. Do we have a deal?
Now about those cranberries I just mentioned. Last fall was the first time I’d ever cooked with fresh cranberries. I put them in bread, baked them with apples and pears under a buttery crisp topping, and got them drunk on brandy. Last fall was also the first (and last) time I tried a raw cranberry. Please learn from my mistake and never try them raw. If you don’t believe me, give one a try. I dare you. But I digress. Cranberry season is fleeting, so now is the perfect time to try out some new recipes.
Today’s recipe for cranberry applesauce is simple to make and is simply fantastic in taste – that alone makes it a winner in my book. All you do is take chunks of peeled apples (any kind you like), and throw them in a pot with fresh cranberries, some white and brown sugar, and a little cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice. Cook it all down until it is nice and mash-able, and then go to town with your potato masher. Easy enough, right? As for the taste, it’s a little sweet and a little tart. It can be as chunky or smooth as you like, and the pink color will do wonders to brighten up the dreariest fall day. This applesauce would also be lovely on any Thanksgiving table. Cook some up sometime soon, and I promise you’ll fall in love with fresh cranberries… just as long as you don’t try them raw.
One Year Ago: Roasted Winter Vegetables and Root Vegetables
Adapted from Simply Recipes
3 to 4 lbs. (about 7 large) apples, peeled and chopped *
2 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup water
* Use any good cooking variety. You can use all the same type or a mix. I used a mix of Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Gala apples.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot or Dutch oven.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cranberries have started to burst and the apples are soft enough to mash.
Remove the pot from the heat and use a potato masher to mash the applesauce to your desired consistency.
Serve warm or cold.
Makes 1 1/2 to 2 quarts.