STYLE

Use apples to make tempting snack, warming soup and elegant sauces

09/24/2012 10:00 EDT | Updated 11/24/2012 05:12 EST
Apples can be used in any kind of dish, from snacks to entrees to desserts. Here are some recipes to try.

Apple Chips

These crisp, oven-baked apple chips with a hint of cinnamon are nutritious, portable and allergen free. They are great for snacks and lunch boxes.

2 large apples (Empire or Idared)

30 ml (2 tbsp) sugar

5 ml (1 tsp) cinnamon

Heat oven to 100 C (200 F).

Thinly slice apples crosswise about 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick with a mandoline or sharp knife. Arrange apple slices in a single layer on 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets.

In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Put mixture into a sieve and sprinkle evenly over apple slices.

Bake in the top and bottom third of the oven until apples are dry and crisp, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and let chips cool completely before transferring to a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Makes about 500 ml (2 cups).

Nutrition information per 50-ml (1/4-cup) serving: About 40 calories; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g fibre.

Source: Ontario Apple Growers, www.onapples.com

———

Apple Cheddar Soup

This rustic soup combines tangy apple, sweet leeks and aged cheddar. Serve with a slice of crusty bread and a green salad for an easy weeknight meal.

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter (or 15 ml/1 tbsp canola oil)

3 apples (McIntosh or Cortland), peeled, cored and chopped

250 ml (1 cup) chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)

250 ml (1 cup) chopped celery

250 ml (1 cup) chopped carrots

15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh thyme

15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh rosemary

2 ml (1/2 tsp) each salt (optional) and fresh cracked pepper

500 ml (2 cups) water

500 ml (2 cups) apple juice

500 ml (2 cups) packed grated extra old cheddar cheese

250 ml (1 cup) 1 per cent milk or evaporated fat-free milk

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add apples, leeks, celery, carrots, thyme, rosemary, salt, if using, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add water and apple juice; bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to pot and over medium heat whisk in cheddar until dissolved. Gently whisk in milk and warm through (do not allow to boil).

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (using 1 per cent milk): About 220 calories; 13 g protein; 7 g total fat (4 g saturated fat); 29 g carbohydrates; 5 g fibre; 20 mg cholesterol; 580 mg sodium.

Source: Ontario Apple Growers, www.onapples.com

———

Saucy Chicken Apple Saute

This dish pulls together quickly and is perfect for a mid-week family supper. Serve with steamed rice.

15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) minced ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

500 g (1 lb) boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, sliced

2 ml (1/2 tsp) each salt and pepper

15 ml (1 tbsp) chili oil (optional)

1 onion, sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 apples, cored and cut into wedges (see note)

250 ml (1 cup) chicken broth

30 ml (2 tbsp) rice or cider vinegar

15 ml (1 tbsp) soy sauce

10 ml (2 tsp) cornstarch

In a large heavy-bottomed skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir in ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant but not browned. Stir in chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned and transfer to a plate.

In same skillet, add chili oil, if using. Cook onion and celery over high heat, stirring constantly, until onion is golden and softened, about 3 minutes. Add apples, broth, vinegar and soy sauce. Bring just to a boil; stir in chicken and cook for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch with 15 ml (1 tbsp) water. Stir into sauce and let thicken slightly. Serve immediately over steamed rice.

Note: For best results use Golden Delicious, Empire or Cortland apples.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Ontario Apple Growers, www.onapples.com

———

Apple Spice Loaves

Reminiscent of a spice cake but zestier, these fragrant loaves combine fibre-rich apples and iron-rich molasses for a hearty and nutritious cold-weather treat.

3 to 4 apples, Macintosh or any other variety (enough to total 500 ml/2 cups grated)

50 ml (1/4 cup) water

250 ml (1 cup) molasses

10 ml (2 tsp) baking soda

750 ml (3 cups) flour

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

10 ml (2 tsp) ground ginger

10 ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon

5 ml (1 tsp) ground cloves

5 ml (1 tsp) ground allspice

1 ml (1/4 tsp) ground cardamom

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder

3 eggs

150 ml (2/3 cup) white sugar

150 ml (2/3 cup) demerara sugar

150 ml (2/3 cup) canola oil

2 ml (1/2 tsp) almond extract

2 ml (1/2 tsp) star anise or vanilla extract

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Shred apples on large holes of a box grater. In a saucepan, combine apples and water and heat through. Stir in molasses and baking soda; set aside to cool.

Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking powder until well mixed.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with mixer for 2 minutes. With mixer running, beat in sugars, then drizzle in oil and extracts. Stir in cooled apple-molasses mixture.

Sift dry ingredients over wet in 3 batches and gently fold together. Generously spray mini loaf pans, muffin tins, round cake pans or 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) glass pan. Bake for 25 to 50 minutes, depending on the pan you use. Begin checking at 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Note: If you prefer a milder gingerbread, reduce the spices by half.

Source: BC Tree Fruits Ltd., www.bctree.com

———

Apple Mustard Sauce

Serve this elegant sauce over slices of fresh roast pork. Baby potatoes or rice and steamed vegetables make a nice accompaniment.

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

250 ml (1 cup) chopped onion

22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) grainy Dijon mustard

1 l (4 cups) any crisp, tart apple, peeled, sliced and cored

250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream

Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until soft. Avoid browning. Stir in mustard until evenly blended. Add apple and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes or until just soft. Add cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Add salt and pepper, if using. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 259 calories; 26 g carbohydrates; 1.6 g protein; 18 g fat.

Source: BC Tree Fruits Ltd., www.bctree.com

———

Poached Apples With Cranberry-Cider Sauce

Apple halves poached in spiced apple cider with a touch of lemon and cranberry make a delicious and attractive low-fat desert.

1 l (4 cups) apple cider

150 ml (2/3 cup) brown sugar

75 ml (1/3 cup) dried cranberries

4 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick (15 cm/6 inches), broken into a few pieces

4 to 6 apples (such as Cortland, Crispin, Golden Delicious, Idared, Jonagold, Northern Spy, Spartan or Russet)

Shredded zest of 1 lemon

In a large saucepan, combine apple cider, brown sugar, cranberries, cloves and cinnamon stick. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.

Peel, halve and core apples. Add apples and lemon zest to cider; reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove apples with slotted spoon; cover and chill.

Bring cider back to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes or until reduced to an almost syrupy consistency; chill. To serve, place 2 apple halves on a plate and surround with cranberry-cider sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Ontario Apple Growers,www.onapples.com

———

Apple Cornbread

This is the perfect accompaniment to a hearty soup on a cool day.

500 ml (2 cups) cornmeal

50 ml (1/4 cup) sugar

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) salt

500 ml (2 cups) buttermilk

30 ml (2 tbsp) margarine

5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda

15 ml (1 tbsp) cold water

2 eggs, well beaten

250 ml (1 cup) chopped peeled apple

Heat oven to 200 C (400 F).

In a saucepan, combine cornmeal, sugar, salt, buttermilk and margarine. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool. Dissolve baking soda in cold water. Add soda mixture, eggs and apple to cornmeal mixture. Pour into a greased loaf or cake pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 145 calories; 21.4 g carbohydrates; 4.6 g protein; 4.8 g fat.

Source: BC Tree Fruits Ltd.,www.bctree.com

MORE:cpStyle