I’m sure I don’t have to tell you it’s officially apple season at the markets. Honeycrisps, gala, rambo, winesap, mutsu, braeburn, pink lady… — you may not find these names at the grocery store, but our local farmers markets offer an amazing variety of vintage varieties. And of course, we’ve been to orchards — picking at Crooked Run (Purcellville, Va.) and to the pumpkin patch at Butler’s Orchard (Germantown, Md.), where we picked up our most recent batch of honeycrisps.
Now that the weather is officially cold, there are few more comforting side dishes than skillet cornbread. Fortify it with (not-so-local) sausage and some of those apples, and it becomes practically a meal in itself. The base for this comes from a recipe recommended by Kristina at Tennessee Locavore. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time living “in the South,” it’s to trust a Southerner when it comes to cornbread. The recipe comes from Crescent Dragonwagon, who has authored an entire cookbook on cornbread — so if you’re looking for more ways to play with cornmeal, you might find inspiration there.
2 links sausage,* such as Italian or chorizo
1 cup apple, diced
1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, break the egg and add buttermilk and oil, whisking to combine. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in apples. Set batter aside.
Heat skillet over medium high heat and cook sausage, breaking apart with your spoon, until browned. Spread cooked sausage evenly around the pan, and pour batter into the hot pan over the sausage. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings. Top with a little butter and maple syrup, and enjoy!
* Note: I actually used a chunk of Soppressata di Calabria from Boccalone in San Francisco, diced small — but the husband thought the chunks were a little too chewy after being double-cooked. Next time I’ll stick with the fresh sausage.
What have you made with apples lately? Be sure to join in for Kids Cook Book Soup if you’ve made something apple-licious with your kids!