February 27, 2012

Poached not Baked

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Margaret's Morsels | Poached Cinnamon Apples

I've previously shared recipes for foods that are baked rather than fried. Today, I want to share an apple recipe that's poached rather than baked.  If you made the No Bake Turkey Cookies I posted last year, this is a chance to use the rest of the cinnamon candies.

My mom never fixed baked apples.  She always poached them on top of the stove in a sugar syrup made with red cinnamon candies and water.

Poaching is a cooking method where food is submerged -- either partially or completely -- in a liquid and simmered until done.  Poached eggs are probably the best known poached food, but fish, chicken and fruit can also be poached.

There's two things to remember when you poach food.  One, don't let the liquid boil.  If you boil the liquid, you're boiling rather than poaching the food.  Two, use the right size pan.  The pan should be big enough to hold the food and liquid, but no bigger.  If you use a pan that's too big, you'll need to add more liquid.  Since the food absorbs the flavor of the liquid it's cooked in, adding more liquid dilutes the flavor.

When you cook with apples, use an all-purpose or cooking apple.  They retain their shape and don't get mushy when cooked.  Granny Smith, Rome, Empire, Golden Delicious and McIntosh are all good choices.  I've recently discovered Honeycrisp, an all-purpose apple that is both sweet and tart, and used it the last time I fixed these apples.  They were delicious poached!

My mom used a 9 ounce package of red cinnamon candies, but I only use about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups.  Put the candies and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once the candies are dissolved, turn the heat down to low and add the apples which have been sliced into eighths.

Margaret's Morsels | Poached Cinnamon Apples
This pan can hold 11 apple slices.

Depending on the number of apples you cook, you may need to poach them in batches.  Simmer the apples, turning them occasionally, until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 8 to 12 minutes.  When you're finished with a batch, use a slotted spoon to remove the apples from the liquid and put them in a serving bowl.

Margaret's Morsels | Poached Cinnamon Apples

Once all the apples are poached, check the viscosity of the remaining sugar syrup.  If it's thick enough, pour it over the apples.  If it's thin, reduce it by bringing it to a boil until it thickens.  Reducing not only thickens the syrup, it also intensifies the flavor.

Margaret's Morsels | Poached Cinnamon Apples

I like the combination of apples and pork so I serve these with sauteed pork chops.

Margaret's Morsels | Poached Cinnamon Apples

The apples can also be served as a dessert.  No matter which way you serve them, the apples add a burst of color to any meal.

Poached Cinnamon Apples
4 Servings

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups red cinnamon candies
2 cups water
5 all-purpose or cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths

Dissolve the cinnamon candies in water over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low.  Working in batches, simmer the apples uncovered, turning occasionally, until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 8 to 12 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the apples to a serving bowl. When all the apples are cooked, reduce the syrup, if necessary, by boiling it until it's thick.  Pour the syrup over the apples and serve.

© Margaret's Morsels

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