This time of year, my son would gladly eat nothing but applesauce. Especially if he got to pick the apples that went into it.
But healthy as they may be, apples alone do not make a proper diet. So rather than indulge his constant desire for applesauce, I decided to integrate an apple sauce into a dinner he was sure to love.
It worked in part because apples are such a versatile fruit. They take to savory flavors as easily as sweet. To help blur the line even further, I used seasonings that we traditionally think of as sweet, but can do double duty as savory, such as cinnamon.
The result was a delicious skillet chicken dish bathed in a sweet-and-savory sauce of apples and onions. Even better, it was on the table in 30 minutes. Because who wants to spend time cooking when there are more apples to pick?
CURRIED APPLE CHICKEN SAUTE
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons butter, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even 1/2-inch thickness
Salt and ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 baking apples (such as Granny Smith or Cortland), peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, then add half of it to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and repeat with the remaining chicken. Transfer the second batch of chicken to the plate, cover with foil and set aside.
Return the skillet to the heat and add the onion. Saute for 4 minutes, then add the cinnamon, curry powder and smoked paprika. Saute for 30 seconds, then add the apples. Toss well to coat the apples with the seasonings, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the apples are tender, but not mushy.
Uncover the pan and stir in the vinegar. In a small glass, mix together the water and cornstarch, then add to the skillet. Stir, then bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the skillet, cover with the sauce, then cover the skillet and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the chicken with the apple sauce spooned over it.