Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
The evening air is a little chilly and a seat beside the campfire feels pretty good. Roaring River State Park in Missouri is beautiful this time of year and many people take advantage of it by camping at their great campgrounds. My giant cast iron skillet sits in the coals full of chopped apples glazed with butter and brown sugar. As they cook the smell of the caramelizing apples mixed with the smell of the wood fire becomes mouthwatering! Fried apples are so good. While I sit there occasionally stirring the apples as they cook, one of the friends we are camping with mentions something about onions. Onions remind me of Almanzo Wilder's favorite food; Fried Apples 'n' Onions. Just another cast iron skillet favorite!
Laura Ingalls Wilder writes all about good country food in The Farmer Boy, her book that recounts her husbands childhood.
“They talked about spareribs, and turkey with dressing, and baked beans, and crackling cornbread, and other good things. But Almanzo said that what he liked most in the world was fried apples'n'onions.”
Being the hard working farm boy that he was, and having a superb country cooking mother, I am sure that Almanzo grew up an authority on good food, so I definitely take his word for it!
THE LITTLE HOUSE COOKBOOK , by Barbara M. Walker.
FRIED APPLES 'N' ONIONS
What you will need:
1/2 pound sliced bacon or salt pork
6 yellow onions (2 pounds)
6 tart apples (2 pounds)
2 T brown sugar
12-inch skillet, with cover
1. Fry bacon slices in the skillet until brown and crisp. Set them aside on a warm serving platter.
2. While the bacon is frying, peel the onions, leaving the stems to hold for slicing. Slice as thin as possible, then discard stems.
3. Core the apples and cut them crosswise in circles about 1/4 inch thick. Apple skins help the slices keep their shape and add color to the dish, so don't peel unless skins are tough or scarred.
4. Drain all but 1 T of fat from the skillet, then add the onion slices. Cook them over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Cover with apple slices in an even layer. Sprinkle brown sugar over all, cover the skillet, and cook until tender, a few minutes more. Stir only to prevent scorching. Remove to the warm plate with bacon.
Adding an extra amount of brown sugar would make this just a little sweeter and a great end to any meal. If you prefer not to use bacon grease, butter make a great substitute. Just imagine a plate full of fried apples 'n' onions, a slice of ham, green beans, a baked sweet potato, hot rolls and a broccoli salad. Yummy! Have a great fall harvest!
photo credit: Jessica Nichols, at Roaring River State Park in Missouri