Is it me, or does recreational apple picking just continue to surge year over year as a fall activity?
Some people are not into it, which I get, and yes, cynically speaking, it’s an excel lent flannel-clad Instagram moment. But I’ve done it for years, and, for my small kids who live nowhere near a farm, it’s a very clear moment of connection: Fruit comes from trees.
There is one problem, though, which is that I somehow thought bringing home a half-bushel of apples was reasonable. It was not.
So far, I have baked one pie and dispensed apples to everyone in my home every day, and we have barely made a dent in the pyramid of fruit that now stands in my kitchen. Maybe you’re in this situation, too.
And so I’ve got a few ideas below for how to use them up at dinner. You could also make applesauce, apple butter or apple jelly. You could put them in muffins, crumbles and cakes. You could layer them in sandwiches. You could roast them with sausages or toss them into kale salad. You could serve them with sourdough pancakes or a Dutch baby.
In the recipe below, chicken thighs are roasted with classic fall ingredients for a quick, flavorful sheet- pan supper. The toasted fennel seeds subtly amplify the anise flavor of the roasted fennel and play nicely with the apples and onions.
Look for an apple on the tart side as it will naturally sweeten as it cooks in the oven.
If you want to use bone-in chicken breasts you can, just make sure to cut the cooking time by a few minutes so they don’t dry out.
Serve with a bright, bitter green salad flecked with blue cheese and toasted walnuts.
Sheet-pan chicken with apple, fennel and onion
• 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
• 2 1/2-3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, patted dry
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt and black pepper
• 1 1/2 cups medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
• 1 cup fennel bulb, tough outer leaves removed, cored and thinly sliced
• 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, halved, cored and cut into 8 wedges
• 4 sprigs rosemary
• Flaky salt, for serving
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Pound into a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle or, alternatively, roughly chop. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the fennel seeds and season well with salt and pepper.
Place the onion, fennel and apple slices on the sheet pan. Toss with the remaining olive oil and season well with salt. Spread in an even layer. Add the chicken skin side up on top of the vegetables and lay the rosemary on top of the chicken. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the onions, fennel and apples are softened and have begun to caramelize at the edge of the pan.
Turn the oven to broil and move the oven rack to sit right below it. Remove and discard the rosemary sprigs and broil the chicken for 1 to 2 minutes until the skin of the chicken is crispy and golden. Season with flaky salt.
Total time: 40 minutes, serves 4-6.