Turkey with Applesauce?

We’re so programmed to pair turkey with cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving celebrations, I wonder how many have considered applesauce as a side instead? Yes, I know cranberry sauce is pretty tasty, especially if it’s homemade, and that the apples may very well be on the dessert menu of your meal, like the fabulous Salted Caramel Apple Pie in Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving magazine (recipe at williams-sonoma.com).

I say do both! Have that pie but make some applesauce to go with Tom or Ms. Hen.

I made mine and froze already it so I could just pull it out and defrost it on Wednesday. I had a cup or so left over, which went into the fridge. It was my desserApplesaucet last night, graced with cream of course. Well, it was soooooooooo good that I may have to tap the freezer earlier than planned and just make another batch of applesauce for Turkey Day. Or, if my willpower prevails, I can save myself the extra work. In either case, here’s the recipe, one that I created years ago when our apple tree at Russian River produced the most fragrant and intoxicating Golden Delicious apples by the bushel.

What makes it special? Using Golden Delicious apples, real vanilla beans, Meyer Lemons, as little sugar as possible, and a quality liquor before it hits the table. If you’re not inclined to pay heed to the ingredients, skip the applesauce and have the pie instead. This recipe is worth following to a “T”.

RECIPE:8 Golden Delicious apples, 1 vanilla bean, scraped, juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon, 1 cup sugar, or less to taste, 1 Tablespoon cognac

Peel, core and cut the apples into large chunks. Put the prepared pieces into a large, heavy bottomed pot. Cover the pot with a lid. Do not add any water. Cook the apples over a low flame. Watch over the apples until they start to give off moisture and begin to steam. Then raise the flame a little higher, and steam/cook the apples until soft. Open the pot during the cooking process and stir the apples. They should be done in about 10 minutes. Test the apples by running a knife through a piece. If it goes through easily, the apples are ready.

Mash the apples into a chunky sauce with a potato masher. Add lemon juice, sugar and the vanilla bean scrapings. Use as little sugar as possible in order to showcase the flavor of the fruit. If you are not going to serve the applesauce for a coupe of days, throw in the vanilla bean halves into the sauce and let them sit in it until you are ready to serve. They will give off additional vanilla flavor.

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