That Food Guy
Thursday, September 08, 2016
  Bacon-Fried Apples - Fresh Off TheTree

Bacon-Fried Cinnamon Apples

Circumstances are often way beyond your control. That is how it was and why it had been four years since I have been home to Chugiak Alaska. It was a warm greeting by friends to start off my sojourn. The next day it was time to see what time and the Alaska weather had done to our pickup and our little place in the woods. It was, to say the least, a mess. There were fences down, weeds and grass had overgrown much of the yard. Snow loaded trees had arched over the drive way. Everywhere I looked I could see the ravages of the unattended rigors of the Alaskan winters. There was a lot of work to be done.

One of our apple trees had died and another looked about to go. The surviving trees were loaded with fruit; fruit that would go wasted if I didn’t make use of it. It took less than a minute to fill a bowl. I was wondering what I would do with the apples. From experience I knew that everyone nearby had no interest. I would bag some up from more distant friends but the remainder would still be here. I would be here too short a time to can them so I decided to make us of them in my daily meals as much as I could.

The next morning while washing the breakfast dishes, I took the skillet to wash it and noted the bit of bacon grease from the morning’s bacon. Then I thought about a favorite thing from the Cracker Barrel Restaurant chain, fried apples. That is where the idea of the bacon fried cinnamon apples was born. If you like bacon then you know most everything goes good with bacon.

I peeled and quartered the apples (The Nordland apples here are small, about the size of a small ball, about 2 to 2 ½ inches). I used a pair of scissors to cut up 2 slices of the pre-cooked bacon and put it in a skillet with two tablespoons of margarine. The pre-cooked bacon slices don’t have a lot of fat left but there is enough to impart that bacon flavor to the margarine. I cooked the bacon and margarine until the bacon pieces started to crisp. I added the apples, seasoned with a bit of salt and two tablespoons of sugar. At the heat setting I had set and what I maintained during the cooking, for the first few minutes I could hear the sizzle of the apples in the hot butter bacon mix while gently turning the apples. After about five minutes the sizzle stopped and the juice from the apples accumulated in the bottom of the pan and it became a slow stew of the apples.

The apples were beginning to take on a nice golden brown color. I tasted one. I could taste the buttery flavor of the margarine and a bit of the smoky bacon flavor but the apples were a bit too tart. The Nordlands are a tart apple and I added two more tablespoons of sugar as well as a couple pinches of nutmeg. After about another five minutes the apple liquid evaporated and the sizzle sound returned. A poke with a fork proved the apples were almost done. I sprinkled with about a tablespoon of ground cinnamon and continued to fold the apples and mix in the cinnamon. About another three minutes and the apples were fully tender, golden brown and smelled wonderful. I removed them from the heat and spooned a small sample into a cup.

Let’s face it. Cracker Barrel fried apples and these apples are basically apple pie without the crust. These apples have the added flavoring of bacon. Cooking can be a chore or it can be an adventure in creativity. Here I merged two things I like in order to make a slightly different dish. I had fun doing it and I definitely enjoyed the end result and I found an outlet for many of the apples still on my trees. How do they taste? The apples are a bit tart, a bit sweet. They have a definite cinnamon fragrance and taste as well as a bit of earthy flavor from the nutmeg, The smoky bacon and buttery flavor is in the back ground. They are not too sweet, not too tart, not too much cinnamon and not too much bacon although the little bits of crunchy bacon are a plus. I think, if only by accident, they came out just right.

I know how much sugar and cinnamon I added but I only know I had a skillet full of apples; a bit crude measurement wise for a recipe. I will play with this dish until I have a reproducible recipe and I will enjoy the experimentation as well as the final result and it will be a part of my personal recipe book. Remember, a recipe is only a starting point, a place to start to make it better.



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