|A classic southern side, slices of apples are fried in a mixture of bacon fat or butter and brown sugar then tossed in a dusting of traditional apple pie spices.|
Southern Skillet Fried ApplesSkillet fried apples aren't deep fried y'all! As I've mentioned before, in the South we refer to frying things a lot, even though it often has nothing to do with submerging a food item in deep boiling oil.
So many folks outside of the South associate our recipes titled fried cabbage and fried corn the same as they do our fried chicken, which of course, we love, but the truth is, very often, the term "fried" simply refers to the cooking of something in what we call a frying pan. Yep. Simple as that!
For our fried apples, it means apples, pan sauteed in some kind of fat, most commonly butter or bacon fat, even sausage drippings left from breakfast, though many Southerners prepare them in more of a stewed version, similar to an apple pie filling. Either way is delicious, of course. When I stew mine, I like to use apple cider, which is not a traditional Southern preparation, but my own little twist to the classic to add more flavor. Using plain water is more traditional when stewing these apples, so feel free to substitute plain ole water.
You'll find that most Southern recipes call for unpeeled, sliced apples, but the more tart Granny Smith apples retain a bit of the firmness even when cooked, so the times that I use them, I do prefer to peel them. For me, that peeling thing is a texture issue. When I use a more tender skinned apple, like Honeycrisp, Red or Yellow Delicious, Jonathans, or Gala, I leave them unpeeled, because the apple skin will help the cooked apples retain their shape and not fall apart.
By the way, skillet fried apples are less a dessert, than they are a side dish really. Besides classic breakfast dishes, they go great with just about any meat or savory main dish too - just ask the folks at Cracker Barrel! Like sweet potatoes, the sweetness of the apples are a perfect compliment to many main dishes, making them suitable as a great side dish for chicken or pork, served along a mess o' greens and even with fried green tomatoes.
Of course, they're also great all by themselves, as a simple snack with yogurt, or as a partner to ice cream. Perfect for breakfast with French toast, pancakes, biscuits or even spooned over oatmeal too - which is another way that I really enjoy them.
Here's how to make them.
Recipe: Southern Skillet Fried Apples©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
- 3 large apples, cored, and cut into eight to ten wedges
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or bacon drippings, or a combination
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, well packed
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter or bacon drippings with the brown sugar. Add the apples and cook over medium until apples begin to release juices. Reduce to medium low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until apples reach desired tenderness. Sprinkle spices on top and toss until well blended.
Cook's Notes: When I use a more firm apple, like Granny Smiths, I prefer to peel them. When using a more tender skinned apple like Gala, Honeycrisp, Red or Yellow Delicious, or if you don't mind the peel, leave them unpeeled. May also cut apples into chunks. Okay to substitute apple pie or pumpkin pie spice for the individual spices, so if you have those in your pantry by all means use them here.
Stewed Apple Variation: For stewing, apple cider is my own little twist to these skillet apples but is absolutely non-traditional. I just like the extra flavor from the cider but even I admit I don't always have apple cider in the house. You can certainly substitute plain water. Cook the butter and brown sugar until melted. Measure 2 cups of apple cider and make a slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour with a splash of the cider. Add the remaining apple cider and the slurry to the pan with the brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, add the apples, bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes longer, or until apples are tender. Add the spices and stir to blend in well.
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©Deep South Dish
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