By Joy Johnson, Master Gardener
It’s November. You may still be feeling like it’s fall or maybe you’re ready for the full onslaught of winter, either way, I bet you have (or had) a lot of apples in your refrigerator! As my boss said back in September, “We all become apple pickers this time of year.” I always go overboard when picking apples at an orchard, or even buying them from the grocery store. I think it’s fun to do a taste test and buy one of every kind. I also have a couple of Haralson apple trees in my back yard. This year was their “off” year. That means last year I picked two bushels of apples and this year I picked a half a bushel.
I enjoy experimenting with different recipes using apples. One of my favorites is very similar to one found in Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It combines apples, onions and pork chops. It doesn’t take long to prepare and my family loves it.
Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 – 4 ounce bone in pork chops
¾ cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, (use 1 teaspoon is using dried powder)
1 ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 apples, thinly sliced
1 small red onion
- Season both sides of chops with salt and pepper
- Put 1 T. oil in skillet, sear chops for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove to plate
- Whisk together broth & mustard, set aside
- Put remaining 1 T. oil in skillet, add apples and onions. Cook 4 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper, sage, rosemary and Thyme. Stir.
- Pour in the broth, scraping the bottom
- Add chops, nesting between apples. Cook 2-3 minutes until chops are done and liquid has reduced.
I always write notes on my recipes, just like my mom used to do. VG=very good. I dug through my recipe file and found these Fresh Apple Squares. My note at the top says, “made on 9-19-20 our 39th anniversary. Much better after they sat on the counter for a day.” This year, I made them again on 9-19-21, our 40th anniversary. My husband said we should call them our anniversary bars. They are loaded with oats and apples and after sitting on the counter for a day they become very moist. They have a delightful fall flavor. This year I used chopped almonds in place of the chopped walnuts. I think I like the almond ones better; feel free to substitute any nut of your choice. Maybe next year’s “anniversary bars” will have pecans . . . .
Fresh Apple Squares
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 medium tart apples (I used MacIntosh and Haralson)
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (substitute almonds or pecans)
- Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
- Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Work in oil and apple juice concentrate with your fingers until coarse crumbs form.
- Firmly press 2 cups of the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange apples over the crust in rows. Mix nuts into the remaining oat mixture. Sprinkle the walnut mixture evenly over the apples and pat firmly into an even layer.
- Bake until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 30-35 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.