Local Apples: Perfect With Curry
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The fall season calls out for curry dishes, but curry powder—which is usually a mix of coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and red pepper as well as ginger, garlic, asafoetida, fennel seed, caraway, cinnamon, clove, mustard seed, green cardamom, black cardamom, nutmeg, and black pepper—is not exactly local. You can easily grow fennel seed, mustard seed, coriander, and garlic in Pennsylvania, but many of the other spices require humidity and long growing seasons. More tropical climes. Of course, there’s a way around nearly every problem, so perhaps some adventurous soul will start a curry garden in a greenhouse.
Curry dishes, whether you use local ingredients or not, are often spicy, but they don’t have to be. Take, for instance, today’s Apple a Day challenge dish, curry and apple couscous. Yes, it calls for curry powder, but you can use mild or hot curry. Many of the ingredients can be locally sourced, including the apples. Now is the time of year to scrounge all you can out of your garden, so those scallions and mint lingering in your garden go to good use here, and it’s not hard at all to find locally produced butter (or make your own).
For this simple dish, the star is the apples. Use an apple variety that’s going to hold up under cooking—look for Fujis, Mutus, Granny Smith, or Rome Beauty apples. You can find almost all of these varieties at local orchards in October; the apples used for this recipe are Mutsu apples picked at Linvilla Orchards.
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon hot curry powder
1/2 a Mutsu apple, cored and chopped
2 scallions, washed, trimmed, and sliced into thin rings
1/2 cup pearled couscous
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup chopped mint
Heat 3/4 of the butter and all the curry powder in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add a few pinches of salt and heat until the curry gives off a fragrant aroma. Add the apples, and cook down for two or three minutes (until apples have softened somewhat). Remove the apples to a bowl. Add the remaining butter to the pan with the curry and add scallions; stirring, allow to cook for approximately one minute. Add water and salt, bring to a boil, and add couscous. Cover the pan with a lid and remove from the burner. Allow the couscous to steam for five to minutes. Return the apples to the pan, along with pine nuts and mint.
This makes enough for two side dish servings or one main dish serving.
The result: a filling meal with a spicy sweetness. Perfect for fall, and a great way to use local apples.