AT OUR house we don't wait for dessert to get to the apples. We have apples with vegetables, apples as vegetables, apples with chicken to jazz up the bland-fleshed birds we seemed to be condemned to, apples with ducks and geese to cut the grease and apples with pig.
Sauteed apples are superb as vegetables. I peel and core the apples and cut them into eighths. These are sauteed in a wok with unsalted butter and brown sugar. For every four people, use 1 1/2 pounds of apples to 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. When the apples become beautifully caramelized, sprinkle them with nutmeg and serve hot.
On a Sunday night I like sausages with cored, sliced but unpeeled apples. Both sausages and apples are sauteed gently in butter and then the pan drippings are deglazed with a little white wine and Calvados, the Franch apple brandy, for a nice Norman sauce. Scotch whisky, I learned from Elizabeth David, is the best substitute for Calvados, and cognac and armagnac will also do. Of course, the dish is not quite the same.
To accompany boudin noir (blood pudding) or boudin blanc, the traditional French New Year's Eve sausage, I cook up an applesauce with Granny Smith apples to which I add disgraceful amounts of butter and Calvados. Only Calvados will do here.
The kind of apple is important. As a New Englander who was imprinted at birth by the crack of new McIntosh apples, I am unable to overcome my contempt for the pretty but empty Red Delicious. I know good cooks from other parts of this country who swear by the Golden Delicious because it holds its shape when cooked. But this is not an apple to me. The Mac I use for eating (a slice of this apple and a piece of Brie is perfection) and for applesauce. The Jonathan, whose season is pitifully short, is a magnificent eating and cooking apple.Granny Smiths, Greenings, Staymans, Winesaps and Rome Beauties are excellent cooking apples. Any of these can be used in the recipes that follow. BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND APPLES (6 servings)
Delicious with roast pork. 2(10-ounce) boxes of frozen baby Brussels sprouts 2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith 3 tablespoons butter Salt and pepper Pinch of quatre epices (recipe follows) 2 tablespoons meat glaze (optional)
Defrost the sprouts at room temperature. Peel and core the apples; cut them into 6 slices and then into chunks as big as the sprouts.
Heat the butter in a saute or frying pan, saute the apples until they start to brown. Add the sprouts; toss them with the apples. Add salt, pepper and the quatre epices. Cover the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally very carefully with a spatula until the sprouts are tender. The sprouts must be overcooked and it does not matter if they are somewhat discolored. Add the meat glaze if available and serve. QUATRE EPICES
(This mixture is used in French pates and terrines. It varies from house to house. This is a very good one.) 2 teaspoons cinnamon 4 teaspoons ground allspice 1 teaspoon ground cloves 2 teaspoons grated nutmeg 4 teaspoons ground coriander
Mix all the spices well and store in a small well-sealed jar.
From Madeleine Kamman's "When French Women Cook." APPLE AND POTATO PUREE (4 to 6 servings)
A delicious accompaniment for ham, duck or goose. 3 pounds tart cooking apples 1/2 lemon Small piece of lemon peel 1/4 cup water 3/4 cup leftover pureed potatoes, made with butter and milk, placed over a pan of hot water Salt and pepper Freshly grated nutmeg or small pinch of cinnamon 1 tablespoon or more butter
Peel, core and quarter the apples. Rub the cut side of the lemon over each apple quarter. Cut the quarters into slices and place in a heavy-bottomed enameled saucepan, along with the lemon peel and the 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until tender, sitrring frequently. The cooking time depends on the kind of apples used.
Place the apples in the blender or processor and process them, adding the warm pureed potatos. Turn the mixture into a saucepan, heat through and stir in the seasonings. Then beat in the butter. Serve immediately in a warmed vegetable dish.
(For a variation on this dish, omit the potatoes. Instead, put the cooked apples through a food mill, using the finest disk.Stird in 1 to 2 tablespoons mango or chutney, depending on your taste. Serve lukewarm or cold.) From Louisette Bertholle's "French Cuisine for All." CALVES LIVER WITH SAUTEED APPLES, ONIONS AND BACON (4 servings) 1 cup finely cubed bacon 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 large onions, finely sliced 2 large tart apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges Freshly ground white pepper 8 slices calves liver, cut 1/4-inch thick Flour for dredging 1 tablespoon vegetable oil Salt 2 tablespoons minced parsley
In a large, heavy frying pan, saute the bacon until lightly browned.Don't let it get too crisp. Remove it to paper towels. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and add 3 tablespoons butter. When it is very hot, add the onions and cook until they are soft and transparent. Add the apple wedges, season with white pepper, cover the pan and cook the apples over low heat for 5 minutes. They should be soft but not mushy. Add the bacon, cover the pan again and braise the apples for 2 or 3 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Dry the liver slices well with paper towels, then flour them -- shaking off the excess. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter together with the oil in a heavy skillet. When very hot, add the liver. Do not crowd the pan. Saute the liver for 2 or 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other. As soon as the liver is done, season it with salt and pepper. Remove it to a serving platter. Pour all the fat from the pan. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the parsley. Just melt the butter and pour it over the liver. Surround the liver with the apple mixture and serve immediately.
(The apple-onion-bacon mixture is also good with pork or fresh ham.) From Perla Meyers' "The Seasonal Kitchen." CELIA CASEY'S SWEETBREADS VALLE D'AUGE (8 servings) 1 cup seedless green grapes 1/2 cup Calvados 2 pairs fresh sweetbreads (about 2 1/2 pounds) Salt and fresh white pepper 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 tart apple, unpeeled but cored and sliced 1 1/2 to 2 cups heavy cream
Wash the grapes, turn them into a small bowl and macerate them in the Calvados for 1 hour.
Soak the sweetbreads for 1 hour in a large bowl of cold water. Change the water often. Place the soaked sweetbreads into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a full boil. Boil rapidly for 2 minutes. Rinse the sweetbreads under cold water until they are cool. Remove the thick outer membrane and any tubes. Separate the lobes. Dry and press firmly between paper towels. Season with salt and white pepper.
Heat the butter and saute the sweetbreads for 3 minutes on each side until golden. Strain the Calvados from the grapes and flame the sweetbreads with the Calvados. Reduce the liquid slightly and remove the sweetbreads to a warm platter.
Add the apple slices and grapes to the pan and saute 2 to 3 minutes, turning the apple slices once. Add the cream and reduce on high heat for about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add the sweetbreads and their juices and heat 1 minute. Serve immediately on a warm platter. NORMANDY ROAST DUCK CHAMPSAUR (4 servings) 1 cup soft white bread, diced 2 tablespoons butter 2 cups tart apples, peeled and coarsely chopped 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 1/2 cup of white wine, plus as much more as needed to moisten 1 (4-to 5-pound) duck 1/2 cup chicken stock 2 tablespoons Calvados or another apple brandy 1/4 cup heavy cream
Saute bread crumbs in the butter until lightly browned. Add apples and cook until they begin to soften. Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Moisten with a very little white wine.
Stuff the duck with bread and apple mixture, truss it and rub it with salt and pepper. Put duck in a roasting pan and add 1/2 cup wine and stock. Roast, uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes per pound at 350 degrees. While cooking prick the skin several times to elease the fat and baste with pan juices. When done remove the duck from the pan. Spoon off as much fat as possible from the pan juices. Pour Calvados and heavy cream into the pan and reheat, stirring briskly. Pour the sauce through a strainer into a sauceboat. r From the Chamberlains, "The Flavor of France." CHESHIRE PORK AND APPLE PIE (6 to 8 servings) Shortcrust pastry made with 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup lard or shortening and ice water 1 1/4 pounds lean pork 3/4 pound pork fat 1 cup chopped onion Brown sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg or sage (to taste) 1 1/2 pounds, firm crisp eating apples 4 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup white wine, cider (not sweet) or light ale 1 egg beaten
Grease a 4-cup raised pie mold or cakepan with a removable bottom, line it with the pastry and refrigerate.
Grind the pork and fat coarsely, add onion and season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg or sage. Peel, core and slice the apples; season them with sugar and nutmeg or sage. Put a layer of pork on pastry, then apples, then pork, apples and pork. Dot with butter, pour on the wine, cider or ale. Cover with pastry, slash in a few places and brush well with beated egg. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/4 hours. Eat hot or cold.
From Jane Grigson's "Good Things" HUNGARIAN CHICKEN AND APPLE CASSEROLE (4 servings) 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces 2 carrots 2 parsnips 1 small onion Salt 4 tart green apples 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons flour
Put the chicken pieces in 2 quarts of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Skin. Peel the vegetables, cut them into chunks and add to the chicken along with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook very slowly until the chicken is done.
Peel and core the apples and cut them into quarters. Put half of the chicken broth in a separate pot. In it cook the apple quarters with the sugar until they are soft. Mix sour cream with flour and add to the apples. Stir and simmer for 2 more minutes.
Add chicken pieces and cook slowly for another 5 minutes. Adjust sugar and salt to taste according to the sourness of the apples. Add the cooked vegetables to the apple and chicken or serve them separately.
From George Lang's "The Cuisine of Hungary"