Feel that touch of crisp chill in the air, that whisper of things to come?
That’s fall. And it’s the perfect time for curling up on the couch with a mug or bowl of something warm and comforting.
The first time I met Tim, he said something in passing about how he’d much prefer a night in to endless social activity, with one party or get-together after another, and I couldn’t believe how much he sounded like me.
They say opposites attract. But, almost one year into marriage, all I have to say is that it sure is nice to share life with someone who also finds pleasure in picking a new Netflix movie to watch on the couch, or reading side by side at home before falling asleep at night.
If it weren’t for the great enjoyment we both also find in hosting big dinner parties, attending outdoor gatherings, and making meaningful connections with other human beings, and the growing desire we both have to stretch outside our comfort zones, I wonder just how easy it would be for us to settle in at home with a big pot of something brewing on the stove and stay there, content…
It’s a desire that we’ve thought about so deliberately recently that, in an effort to find ways to love and enjoy the company of others outside our relationship, we’ve recently filled our social calendars nearly to capacity.
We’ve been hosting and attending and gathering and joining. And it’s been good, all of it – delighting in conversations with friends old and new, hearing how people are doing, laughing and crying and learning, seeing how much there is yet to know.
But still, in the midst of it all, I have to say there remains something equally special about those quiet, cozy days (or even hours) spent at home, the kind where there’s nothing much on the agenda besides laundry and reading and making dinner – and the more rare these chunks of time become, the more precious they feel.
Fall is good for reminding us of this. As the days darken and turn cooler and and we turn on our heaters for the first time in months, there’s an unspoken push towards cuddling under fluffy blankets and sipping cocoa and enjoying the comfort of a warm kitchen.
The autumn season beckons, driving us to roast and to caramelize, to slow cook and to stew. There’s nothing quite like coming in from the cold to the smell of something simmering in the kitchen. And this easy caramelized apple and onion side dish is perfect for that.
By the time the onions are soft and translucent, your home will smell as good as it does when you’re about to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner.
Standing over the stove with your hair pulled back and your slippers on, the house quiet and still, save for the soft susurrations of sizzling, you will know that this dish right there is going to be so good, so rich, all you can do is give thanks for such a moment, and enjoy.Print
Cozy up with caramelized apples and onions for dinner this week. The flavor combination of this simple side is perfect for fall, alongside chicken or pork.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter or coconut oil. Add onions, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook the onions until they are soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in thyme sprigs and apple slices. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Increase heat to medium-high, and cook for 10 more minutes while stirring occasionally, until the apples and onions are caramelized.
- Remove thyme sprigs and serve.
Nutritional information below was calculated using butter. For a dairy-free version, try coconut oil instead!
Keywords: fall, autumn, apple, onion, side dish
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Peel, Slice, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
First, wash all of your produce well. If you like, you may choose to leave the peels on the fruit in this dish, for a heartier texture and added nutrients.
If you don’t prefer to go that route, get out your trusty vegetable peeler and peel the apples. I prefer Golden Delicious for this recipe, but you can use any type that’s firm enough to stand up to cooking. Remove the cores and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.
Peel the onions and slice thin. Not a fan of this kitchen task? Check out our tips to stop those tears!
Measure all of the remaining ingredients as listed.
Step 2 – Cook Onions
Melt the butter or coconut oil in a large saucepan.
Stir in the onions, salt, and pepper.
Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Be sure to stir occasionally as the onions cook, so they don’t stick to the pan and start to cook unevenly in spots.
Step 3 – Cook Until Caramelized
Add the thyme sprigs and apple slices to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this point, you’re still focusing on softening the apples, and beginning to just barely brown the onions.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the apples and onions are caramelized to a deep, golden brown, and some are beginning to fall apart in places.
Any juices that have been released should be syrupy at this point, but the pan should not be completely dry – again, you don’t want anything to burn. Adjust the heat slightly if necessary.
Remove thyme sprigs before serving, or cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
How to Enjoy this Beautifully Caramelized Mixture
This particular recipe is perfect for fall and winter dishes, when apples are at their peak and hearty meals are a mainstay at the dinner table. The combination of rich onions and tart apples, once caramelized, really provides a punch of flavor that can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways.
My personal favorite is serving them up with homemade apple cider pork chops. The vinegar from the marinade on the pork plays nicely with the topping, so you get savory, sweet, and tangy flavors in every single bite.
You can also serve this over pork tenderloin, grilled sausages, or roasted chicken for a new textural addition to some of your favorite classic main-dish proteins. The sweetness of the apples and the richness of the onions make a fantastic combination with lighter meats.
How would you enjoy this incredibly flavorful dish? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe once you’ve tried it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published October 9, 2012. Last updated: September 9, 2018 at 18:13 pm. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.