An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor away! Its hump day and it is fall. Could it be any better?
Well, some fall weather would be nice. Here in San Diego we are in a major heatwave going into the hundreds. If you know about San Diego you know that it is NOT supposed to be this hot!
Sorry for the rant.
Let’s get back to that whole fall thing.
So, this weekend, Justin and I took a trip over to Julian and visited Volcan Valley Apple Farm. Although the weather was uber hot, it was nice to “feel” like it was fall and enjoy the apple picking.
It happened to be Apple Days when we went, which was so much fun! The Apple Days Festival was so cute and included wine and sausage tastings, merchandise, contests, and of course lots and lots of apples!
While we were on the hunt for the perfect apple I dreamed up several dishes and preparation of apples and I cannot wait to share all the apple goodness with you this coming month!
We ended up picking three different kinds of apples; golden delicious, jonathan and empire.
The golden delicious is great for salads and sauces while the jonathan is a slightly sweet apple and is great in cooking or baking. The empire apple was of the red variety and is also good in baking and salads.
I was super satisfied with the amount and variety of apples that we were able to get.
DISCLAIMER: We put all the apples into one bag and they all got mixed up. Oops. If this happens to you make sure you taste the apple before preparing so you can know what preparation it is best suited for. If you don’t really mind either way, more power to ya!
I have been obsessing over chicken thighs since we had dinner at a friend’s house a few weeks ago. Chicken thighs with chermoula were on the menu and it was SO good.
Since then I have been craving the juiciness of a thigh. When we came back from apple picking I planned out my chicken menu; apple juice brine chicken thighs with roasted Brussels Sprouts and fresh apple, with apple gravy made from the rendered fat of the chicken, apple juice, flour and few fresh apples.
I am determined to include apple into as many dishes as I can!
First, I started with a 24 hour brine of apple juice, onions, garlic, black peppercorn, coriander seeds, fresh thyme, rosemary and sage. Chicken tends to dry out quickly, so brining is a perfect solution to keep your meats juicy while they cook. I brought the brine to a boil, let it cool and then added the brine and chicken into a Ziploc bag and put that baby into the fridge. In the morning I rotated the bag to make sure all the thighs were treated to the apple juice bath.
From there the rest of the dish was super easy!
The next day Justin prepped the Brussels Sprouts and apples for me. The Brussels Sprouts; halved down the center, and the apples, minced into small, delicious, bites (he used our mandolin to get the bite sized pieces).
Drizzle some olive oil on top and give them a nice big pinch of sea salt (or salt of your preference). You all are in for a real treat. I know this sounds weird but I added a touch of cinnamon to them before putting it in the oven.
Cinnamon and apple are a total HOLY GRAIL pairing, but the Brussels Sprouts…
The cinnamon gave the Brussels Sprouts that warm fall-ie feeling and tasted fucking delicious.
The chicken cook was super easy!
I rendered off the fat from the chicken skin in my cast iron pan (obsessed) and then threw the whole thing into the oven.
Told ya, SO easy.
I made the gravy from the leftover drippings, apple juice and flour. I scraped up all the goodness on the bottom of the pan which turned my gravy a super dark color. If you are going to scrape up the goodies, make sure they aren’t burnt like mine where or you will be left with a less than appealing color.
This dish is a simple yet flavorful weeknight meal and can be made all year round with your favorite apples.
Happy eating! Xx
- 5 chicken thighs
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 Tbsp. black peppercorn
- ½ Tbsp. coriander seeds
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
- 32 oz. apple juice or enough to cover all the chicken
- 1 pound brussel sprouts, sliced in half
- 1 ½ apples, minced or chopped into small pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- ½ cup apple juice or cider
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ¼ apple, chopped or minced into small pieces
- Bring all items for the brine, besides the chicken, to a boil in a pan. Once boiled remove from heat and let cool.
- In a ziplock gallon bag add the chicken thighs and the brine. Seal and place in fridge for a minimum of 24 hours.
- Slice the Brussels Sprouts in half. Set aside.
- Mince or chop the apples into small pieces. Set aside.
- Mix the apples and Brussels Sprouts in a bowl. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of oil and add cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste.
- In a cast iron skillet or other oven safe pan, heat oil over high heat.
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Place the chicken thighs into the pan and let cook for 2 minutes on high. Reduce heat to medium-high and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan and the pieces of chicken to ensure even cooking.
- While the chicken is cooking roast the Brussels Sprouts and apple mixture in the oven for 30 minutes or until desired cooking level.
- Once the 12 minutes are up on the chicken, place the chicken into the oven and continue to cook for another 10-12 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes. Once the time is up check to make sure the chicken is at its desired temperature. If not, continue to cook until it is reached.
- Remove chicken from pan and let rest for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
- Using the leftover chicken pan discard some of the rendered fat and remove and discard any burnt bits. Add the fresh apples and fry for a minute or so. Stir in the flour and continue to cook for 1 minute.
- Add the apple juice or cider and then the stock.
- Heat and continue to stir until the gravy thickens.
- Serve with the chicken and veggies.
- When making the gravy be sure to remove any burnt bits from the pan. That was my downfall and I ended up with black gravy!