It is a classic — really killer — combination, but one most people don’t play around with much. Once I started to think about it, though, the possibilities for pork and apples seemed myriad: obviously, you can cook chops and chunks in a cast-iron skillet, maybe with a little bacon and onions . . . an easy vision. Bacon-wrapped apples, skewered and roasted or broiled (or grilled, for you warm-climate people) is another. A B.C.A. — bacon, cheese (soft, mild, brie-ish cheese, especially) and apple — is a fine sandwich, especially when cooked as you would a grilled cheese.
On the slightly more complex side, I turned to the stuffed pork loin. This recipe has been a symbol of winter to me ever since I saw its photo (the stuffing was apricots) in one of the Time-Life “Foods of the World” cookbooks. (These were important works of the ’60s and ’70s, at least to those of us who were cooking.)
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When you transform an apple by cooking, you may make it soft, fluffy, chewy, savory, sweet or creamy — the potential is enormous. Yes, an apple loses some juiciness and freshness when you cook it, but as an ingredient it’s just as versatile as a potato. (You probably know that in French the potato is called pomme de terre, or “apple of the earth.”) The surprise from a raw apple comes from the variety and the season, whereas the surprise from a cooked apple comes from what you do with it.
Just as long as you don’t make sauce. The goal here is to offer you some other options.
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By Freya Bellin
This dish is wonderfully flavorful, blending sweet-tart apples, nutty brown rice, and spicy coconut curry. As promised, it really is hands-off, and the results are fantastic. By cooking the dry rice before adding liquid it becomes extra nutty, plus it gets well coated with the curry- and ginger-infused oil. The coconut milk is subtle but crucial to the creaminess of the dish, and the shredded coconut adds a nice toasty element throughout. Once mixed in, give the apples some time to soften up—they will cook significantly and taste best when warmed all the way through. You can certainly play around with variations on this recipe, maybe swapping out the apples for raisins or pineapple, or some combination. Try topping it with plain Greek yogurt for extra creaminess.
I did some improvising with the cooking technique in this recipe, and instead of using an oven-proof pan, I cooked everything in a large skillet up until it was ready for the oven. At that point, I transferred it to a small glass Pyrex dish and covered it with aluminum foil. The dish still came out great, so don’t be deterred if you don’t have the right cookware. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.