Sunday, November 23, 2008

Waste Not

This weekend we made some apple pies for our church's Thanksgiving Dinner.
However, we had to buy new apples because the ones we had picked last month were getting soft and hard to peel. I figured they wouldn't hold up well in pie and that they were too soft to enjoy eating raw. I decided that rather then let those apples go to waste, I'd make some apple sauce. It turned out we had half a bag of cranberries in the refrigerator also from a meal a couple of weeks ago. They went in the apple sauce too.
We also had left over pie crust, and that led to an improvised chicken pot pie for dinner. We didn't have the traditional peas, potatoes, celery and carrots. Rather I had 3 parsnips that needed to be used, one sweet potato, and half a jar of corn in the freezer. I added an onion and sauteed these in a pan with some sage and savory. We had a cooked chicken breast in the freezer that I thawed by boiling in 2 cups broth with a bay leave and some allspice berries. The veggies went into the bottom pie crust, I chopped up the chicken and added it to the pie. Then made a white sauce using 4 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup flour cooked over medium heat for minute or two. Then I added 1 cup milk and stirred while it thickened, then added back the 2 cups broth. This cooked until thickened and then was poured over the veggies and chicken. Covered with extra pie crust, this baked with the pies (but should have baked at 400 for 25 minutes or so.) It took longer with the pies, but saved time and cooking fuel. We were so hungry we gobbled down the chicken pot pie before any pictures could be taken, but we heartily enjoyed it.

Here's the recipe for the Cran-Apple Sauce.

Cran-Apple Sauce

About 7-8 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 cup cranberries rinsed over
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2-3/4 cup water
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
3-5 cloves (in a tea ball or cheesecloth)

Combine the ingredients in a sauce pan. Start with lower amounts of sugar and water. Add water only if the apples begin to stick.
Simmer over medium heat, stirring often.
The cranberries will begin to burst, changing the color of the liquid.
Cook until all the berries have burst and the apples are soft.
Remove from heat, remove cloves, and mash with a potato masher. For a smoother texture, run through a food mill or puree with a blender. Taste and add more sugar as needed.
Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. In larger quantities this could be canned, processed in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Makes about 1 quart.

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