As apples continue to fall from the tree every time the wind blows, we continue to chop, cook, fry, chomp, chew and freeze apples. One of our favourite ways to use up a half dozen or so eating apples is to make Danish Æbleflæsk. This is Mr. Misk’s speciality, and I duck out of the kitchen, put my fluffy-slippered feet up after setting the table, and try not to think about the globs of cooked apple he’s spraying on the wall every time he stirs this intensely irresistible Danish traditional meal. It’s easy to make, most of the time, effort and palaver dedicated to coring and chopping the apples and shedding tears over the pile of sliced onion.
A few notes about Æbleflæsk.
1. You’ll need a deep-sided frying pan because there’s a mountain of apples and onion that need to fit into it. As it cooks, the volume will reduce by half (at least).
2. If you don’t have a lid for your frying pan, cover it with foil. You don’t want the cooking apples to dry out.
3. Don’t overcook the apples. They should be tender when tested with a knife or fork, but not allowed to disintegrate into applesauce or mush.
4. Don’t throw out the bacon fat; you need it to flavour the apples. It’s just not the same without it.
5. We like the apple peel. Peel them if you wish.
Mr. Misk’s Danish Æbleflæsk (serves 3-4)
8-10 slices of streaky bacon
1 thinly sliced onion
6-8 apples, cut into equal 1-inch size chunks (half cooking apples and half eating apples)
2-3 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
Place the bacon in a cold frying pan and fry slowly until crisp. Do not allow the bacon to burn as this taints the flavour of the apple when the bacon fat and apple chunks are mixed together. When cooked, remove the bacon from the pan, and place between layers of kitchen towel to drain. Add the apple chunks and sliced onion to the pan with the bacon fat, toss thoroughly so everything is mixed through, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Clap a tight-fitting lid on the frying pan, and allow the apples to soften and the onion to cook until translucent. Stir every few minutes to keep the apple from catching on the bottom of the pan. Cook for approximately 15-minutes until the apple chunks are tender. Don’t overcook; this isn’t applesauce.
Now sprinkle with sugar, stir and turn cooked apples gently, and taste. Adjust sugar if necessary. Add salt if you must.
To serve, poke the bacon into the Æbleflæsk, and serve with slices of dark rye bread. The Æbleflæsk is usually spooned on to the top of the rye bread as an ‘open sandwich’ with the bacon eaten on the side. Enjoy!!