By JEAN TELLER
Autumn is a time for clear skies, crisp air, brisk temperatures and seasonal delicacies.
School’s underway, football games and sports activities abound, the family is busy all the time, and the holiday season is getting closer. Seasonal fruits, like pumpkins and apples, are piled high at farmers markets, roadside stands, and grocery stores.
Apples, while found year-round, are known as an autumn fruit. This time of year is when you find the tastiest, juiciest and crispest varieties of apples.
For a true antique apple, try farmers markets or organic food stores for Spitzenburg, Grimes Golden, Baldwin, Pippin, Pound Sweet, Gravenstein, or Golden Russet. Better yet, explore the old homestead and see what trees your great-grandparents planted when they homesteaded.
Visit bit.ly/2w58Cvd to learn how you can grow heirloom apple varieties. You won’t regret it.
Roasted chicken, celery root, apples and chestnuts with
apple cider pan gravy
Yields 6 servings
1 sprig marjoram
6 sprigs thyme
4 leaves sage
1/2 apple, cored and cut into chunks
1 whole chicken (5 to 6 pounds)
1 1/2 cups apple cider, divided
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 firm sweet apple, quartered and cut in half crosswise (Fuji or Cameo are good choices)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
8 jarred chestnuts, halved
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place marjoram and thyme sprigs, sage leaves, and chunked apples into cavity of chicken. Tie legs together, and place in roasting pan. Pour 1/2 cup apple cider and 1 cup chicken stock around chicken, and roast for 1 hour. Remove and add 1 cup chicken stock. Return to oven and roast for an additional 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine celery root and sweet apple pieces in small bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and mix well. Scatter vegetables around chicken in roasting pan. Sprinkle chopped herbs, remaining salt and remaining pepper over chicken. Add chestnuts. With large spoon, turn vegetables to coat in pan juices. Baste chicken.
Return to oven and continue roasting until chicken is done, checking doneness after 1 1/2 hours. Chicken is done when instant-read thermometer inserted in deepest part of thigh registers 180 degrees.
On average, chicken takes 18 to 20 minutes per pound to cook, so for a 5- to 6-pound chicken, you’re looking at about 1 1/2 to 2 hours total roasting time. Don’t go by time; always check internal temperature.
While chicken is roasting, combine butter and flour in small bowl, and press mixture against side of bowl with back of spoon to combine well. Repeat pressing process until all flour is incorporated into butter, forming a paste or beurre manie. Set aside.
When chicken is done, remove from pan, and place on carving board. Cover with foil, and let cool slightly before carving.
Pierce vegetables with fork to check for doneness. If tender, remove vegetables from pan, and reserve. If not tender, return to oven and cook until they are.
Place roasting pan with juices on stovetop. Add remaining chicken stock and remaining apple cider, and bring to boil. Adding a little at a time, whisk in paste mixture until gravy is smooth and slightly thickened.
Arrange vegetables in serving bowl or on platter. Top with chicken pieces. Serve gravy to the side.
Baked apple butter
Recipe by Patrice Anita
Back in 1998, GRIT held its first National Championship of Canning, and the winning recipe was baked apple butter, sent in by Patrice Anita of Los Angeles. “I like to use a variety of apples. One vendor at my farmers market carries a lot of apples, and I will buy a few of each type of organic apples he has at the time Pink Lady, Fuji, Granny Smith,” she said.
Yields 8 12-ounce jelly jars
10 to 12 pounds apples
9 cups sugar
Juice and grated peel of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Wash and quarter apples. Place in large pot with just enough apple cider to keep apples from sticking, and cook until soft and mushy. Cool slightly, and then put through sieve. You should get about 18 cups of apple puree.
In large ovenproof casserole or roasting pan, combine puree, sugar, lemon juice and peel, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Mix thoroughly.
Place casserole in cold oven, and set temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for several hours, until apple butter is desired thickness. Stir every 1/2 to 1 hour in the beginning, and then more frequently as butter thickens. Test butter for doneness by placing small amount on plate. When no liquid separates from edges, it is done.
Pour mixture into hot, sterilized jars. Seal using two-piece canning lids, following manufacturer’s instructions. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes, adjusting for local altitude.
Apple pie with oat crust
Yields 8 servings.
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup uncooked oats, quick or old-fashioned
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 carton (8 ounces) sour cream, light or regular
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 egg whites or 2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples
1/4 cup uncooked oats, quick or old-fashioned
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make crust: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar and salt. Add butter, water and vanilla, and mix well.
Press mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch glass pie plate, forming 1/4 -inch rim around edge.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool.
To make filling: Combine sour cream, brown sugar, flour, egg whites, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add apples and toss to coat. Arrange over crust.
To make topping: Combine oats, brown sugar and flour; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.
Apple quick bread
Recipe by Karen K. Will
Yields 2 loaves.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups peeled, finely diced Granny Smith apples, or other tart apple
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two, 9-by-5-inch loaf pans; set aside.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together milk, honey, eggs and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients until just blended. Stir in apples and pecans.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool completely. Store leftovers in plastic bag.
Pattie’s wild blueberry farm apple crisp
5 cups blueberries or huckleberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange peel
1 cup diced tart apples
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped hickory nuts, walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Butter 8-inch baking dish; set aside.
To make fillin: In large bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, lemon peel and apples, and mix well. Arrange mixture in prepared dish.
To make topping: In medium-size bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, nuts and oats, and mix well. Rub in butter with fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over filling.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until topping is golden. Serve warm, topped with ice cream.
Yields 3 cups.
5 cups sliced Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup orange juice
2 to 3 teaspoons grated orange peel, to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In 3-quart microwave-safe bowl, combine apples, orange juice and orange peel. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving vent hole; microwave on high for 12 minutes, or until apples are tender.
Stir in sugar and cinnamon, and mix well. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Note: For smoother applesauce, puree cooked mixture in blender or food processor.
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