How do you like them apples?

One of the best things about fall in New York State is all of the great apples that are available for the picking (literally).  We went apple picking a couple of weekends ago and came home with some really good Honey Crisp and Cortland apples and maybe a few MacIntosh.  The apple orchards around here are pretty remarkable with all of their offerings beyond just apples.  There are usually fritters, dumplings, doughnuts, cookies, cider, pie and so on.  The kids indulged in a apple fritter sundae (apple fritter fresh out of the fryer, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped cream....serious) which was SO good!  I know this because one of my dear children was kind enough to let me have a couple of bites.  OK, so you have a nice treat at the orchard, but when we bring all those apples home, it doesn't have to be an excuse to make loads of sweet desserts or eat apple slices with gobs of that awful caramel dip (OMG, the ingredients on one very popular brands are: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Non Fat Milk, Polydextrose, Modified Corn Starch, Butter (Milk, Cream, Salt), Sugar, Less than 2% of: Disodium Phosphate, Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Mono and Diglycerides.  Um.....gross.....).  How about whole apples for snacking (maybe with a little nut butter if you must!) or apple slices on your green salad or, are you ready for this?  A topper on your burger!  

I recently made some delicious pork burgers and did just that, topped them with apple slices.  I'm a fan of making burgers out of turkey or pork (or even a combo of the two).  We have beef burgers once in a while, but the others are lower in calories and just as good.  

I chopped half of a red onion

and two cloves of garlic.

I fired up a pan over medium high heat with a small drizzle of olive oil (may a teaspoon or so). When the pan was hot, I added the onions and garlic and cooked, stirring occasionally until they started to soften.

Then I added about 3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and about a teaspoon of whole grain mustard and cooked it until the vinegar was reduced.  The smell is very strong but it mellows out once it's mixed with the meat.

I set the onions aside to cool off a bit, then mixed with 1 lb ground pork and salt and pepper to taste.  Form the meat into four patties and grill the burgers until cooked through.  Add a slice of sharp cheddar, because everything is better with cheddar.

While the burgers were on the grill I mixed up a little honey and mustard with about a tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme and chives.

I served that baby up with some spring mix and lightly toasted bread (I prefer something thinner than a bun, and a lettuce wrap was just not the thing for this burger).  I added a slice or two of a nice crisp apple and a drizzle of the honey mustard.  We made fresh cut oven fries too!

Here's the break down if you want to try this at home:

1 tsp olive oil

1 lb ground pork

1/2 red onion chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

3 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 tsp whole grain mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium high heat, add onion and garlic, cook, stirring occasionally until softened. Add vinegar and mustard and continue cooking until reduced.  Remove from heat and let cool a bit.  Add cooled onion mixture to ground pork, salt and pepper to taste.  Grill until cooked through and melt cheese on top before serving.  Top with apple slices and homemade honey mustard (see below).

2 Tbs Dijon mustard

2 1/2 tsp honey 

1 Tbs chopped fresh chives and thyme

Mix honey and mustard tasting for desired sweetness, add herbs and stir.

Yup.  That's exactly what I'm talking about.

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