Monday, October 13, 2008

Apple-Onion Casserole

A regional classic featuring apples, onions, herbs and bacon. A great accompaniment to ham and pork. I like it cold, too.

This recipe is adapted from my Grandma’s old cookbook. It sounded so whacky I had to try it. It’s almost a meal in itself and the first time I made it I almost ate all of it. I suspect it’s an old recipe with ingredients that were cheap and which most housewives would have had on hand. 

When I lived in SW Michigan, I had access to a myriad of apple varieties. One of my favorite roadside stands was run by a little old lady who grew old apple varieties and could tell you what kind of apple it was by just looking at it ... ten feet away! She was a rarity who still grew Winesaps which I love. A bowl of Winesaps will scent an entire room! Always add one to your apple pie. 

If you choose to use rosemary, use fresh; dried rosemary needles can be annoying in one's mouth . . .
  • 3 medium-sized onions
  • 2 medium-sized, crisp apples
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup soft, cubed bread crumbs, crusts removed
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • Dried/fresh thyme leaves and/or rosemary needles. Give a good mince.
Peel and slice onions thinly, about 1/8 inch. I used yellow sweet onions.

Peel and core apples then slice into rings. I've tried using "chunks" but it doesn't work as well. Thin slices of apple "rings" work best and look the best when layered with the onion. You may choose to keep the skin on, and,  for a more festive look around Christmas, use a red and green apple. If you can find them, Ida Reds are nice and will a pink blush.

Cut bacon into smaller pieces and sauté/fry until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain and cool. Add the bread cubes to the bacon “renderings” to coat. Remove to a bowl. In the same pan, add chicken broth, a pinch or two of dried thyme or rosemary (or both!). Bring to a boil and reduce to a bit less than 1/2 cup.

Butter a 1.5 quart glass-baking dish. Arrange the apples, onions and bacon in alternate layers. Pour in the broth mixture. Cover the top with the fat-soaked bread cubes.

Cover the dish and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. Uncover it and cook for another 15 minutes longer.

Notes: It's important to have crisp apples. If the apples are soft, they will cook before the onions. You want everything the same texture.


Unknown said...

I love your recipes for the yum factor! You're right we probably shouldn't eat lots of it, but since i cook lots the smells come unbidden as I read the recipes...especially this one! My own grandmom did something similar only it was with salt pork!

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, I can feel my arteries clogging up just reading that recipe.

Kitchen Bounty said...

Ellen: LOL ... WE have two hearts ... the one in our body and the one in our inner psyche. The former will look out for our arteries. Trust me. Ain't no one living forever. One would do better to be more concerned about chemtrails and radiation from Fukushima ... Hope all is well.