So it turns out I have allergies AND I still have a bad sinus infection. So I will keep this short and sweet—because although I felt better this past weekend, when my brother came to visit and I made him this dish as well as a cookie recipe I have not had the energy to type up yet, I pretty much feel awful again. Like shoot me and put me out of my misery awful. But the doctor has put me on Flonase and a new generation antibiotic that I have never heard of (and of course was therefore quite pricey) so hopefully this will be the end of it—although I have been warned I might need a cat scan on my sinuses to see just why they are clogging so easily. Lovely. Stay tuned for the cookies though—my search for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever might finally be over. Apologies for the pictures again—my brother distracted me and I almost forgot to take pictures at all!
French Canadian Sausage & Apple Pie with Cheddar Cheese
Adapted from Home Cooking Around the World by David Ricketts
A ready-to-use pie crust (or make your own if you have a recipe you like) for 9 inch pie plate
1 lbs fresh sausage of choice in casing (I used an andouille sausage sold at a local butcher’s; the recipe calls for sweet Italian)
1 12 oz bottle hard apple cider, with 1/3 cup removed and set aside
4 T unsalted butter, divided in half
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered, then sliced thinly and tossed in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice
2 t brown sugar
¼ t cinnamon
1/8 t allspice
1/8 t nutmeg
2 medium/large Vidalia (or other sweet) onions, coarsely chopped
3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
7 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 t fresh lemon juice
¼ t salt
¼ t black pepper
Crust: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a 9 inch pie pan with the pastry, then line with foil and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and beans/rice. Prick pastry with a fork anywhere it is bubbling up. Continue baking until golden, 10-15 minutes. Set aside on a cooling rack to cool. Leave the oven at 400 F.
Filling: Prick the sausage with a fork. Place in a single layer in a large skillet and add the remaining bottle of hard cider (after 1/3 cup is removed). Gently boil, turning the sausages once or twice to cook evenly, 10-15 minutes. Liquid may evaporate—this is fine, the idea is to render all of the fat and cook the sausages through. Remove the sausages to drain on a paper towel and set aside.
Wipe the skillet and return it to the heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter, as well as the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until apples have softened and the spicy sweet sauce is evenly distributed over the apples. Remove the apples and set aside in a large bowl.
Wipe the skillet clean again and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes on high heat. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes—the onions should be browning nicely and may be starting to stick. Add the 1/3 cup of hard cider and cook an additional minute, scraping to deglaze the pan. Add to the apples in the bowl.
Remove the casings from the sausage—I used kitchen shears to slice one side of the casing open and peel it off. This worked well. Crumble the sausage into the apple/onion mixture. Mix it all together. Then add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley and 6 ounces of the shredded cheese. Toss together quickly so that the cheese does not melt in one lump. Then add the lightly beaten egg and toss quickly. Spoon the filling into the baked pie crust and sprinkle the remaining 1 ounce cheddar cheese on top of the filling.
Place the pie plate onto a jelly roll pan and place in the 400 F oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top begins to brown. Then lower the heat to 375 F and bake until browned and bubbly, an additional 15-20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and then slice into wedges (ok my casseroles never slice into nice squares or wedges when they are first baked—but it doesn’t matter if this fell in a heap because it was so darn tasty).