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Trio of Savory Apple Sides

December 11, 2013

All of the apples used this fall in Cook Academy at The Essex Resort and Spa came from Chapin Orchards in Essex. Christine Frost, Executive Sous Chef for the Cook Academy at the Essex, lives just down the road from Chapins and stopped by to pick up what they needed each week. The Essex also uses their apples at the front desk--there is always a bowl of apples for guests in autumn. Christine has treated us to three delicious apple recipes for Thanksgiving sides; cider squash mash, Vermont cheddar, apple & onion soup, and an apple and smoked cheese tartine. They have also included an indulgent Vermont Maple Syrup Mousse recipe as a bonus treat! These recipes can be sourced almost completely locally and are guaranteed to impress your guests.

The Essex is hosting a Thanksgiving Eve Vermont Apple Dinner where you can learn about and feast on Vermont apple varieties and their best uses as they prepare an orchard inspired menu! Peruse the menu and register here.

Vermont Cheddar, Apple, Onion Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled, shredded
1 large Vermont apple, (we like Honey crisp and Paula Reds) peeled, cored, and finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour (or 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with ¼ cup cool broth into a slurry)
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup Vermont apple cider
1 cup half-and-half
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 dash cayenne pepper
3 cups sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt to taste
Peeled diced apple and extra grated cheese for garnish

  1. In a 4 quart or larger stock pot, melt butter and olive oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add onion. Cook 12 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently until very soft and caramelized.
  3. Add shredded carrot and chopped apple, cook 5 minutes more.
  4. Increase heat to medium. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the stock stirring constantly with a wire whisk until combined.
  6. Add remaining stock, while mixing.
  7. Add cider and bay leaf and stir to combine.
  8. Heat soup to just below boiling, stirring occasionally. Cook until all vegetables are soft.
  9. Add half-and-half.
  10. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Do not let boil or soup may curdle.
  11. Remove bay leaf. Add dry mustard and cayenne pepper.
  12. Using an immersion blender or traditional blender, blend soup till creamy.
  13. Gradually stir in cheese until completely melted and smooth, remove from heat and serve.
  14. Garnish with apple and grated cheddar.

Cider Squash Mash

2 cups cider

1 ½ lbs Buttercup squash, peeled, cut in half, seeds removed, cubed (about 2 small or 1 large squash)
2 medium apples, peeled and cored, halved
water or vegetable stock to cover
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper

Serves 4

  1. In a small sauce pan add cider, allow to simmer until it has reduced to ¼ cup or less and is syrupy, about 45-60 minutes.
  2. Peel squash with good quality, sharp peeler. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds, cut the squash into chunks.
  3. Place apple and squash in a saucepan and cover with water or stock, add thyme sprigs.
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cook until the squash is tender. Drain in a colander, remove thyme sprigs.
  5. Purée the squash and apple in a food mill, mixer or mash with a potato masher.
  6. Stir in butter and brown sugar.
  7. Taste for seasoning.
  8. Swirl in cider reduction when serving.

Vermont Apple & Smoked Cheese Tartine

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon minced rosemary
3 ½” thick slices of country bread, cut in half (Red Hen Pain au Levain, Klingers Farm Bread, Gerard’s Bread)
1 tart Vermont apple, thinly sliced
6 slices Smoked Cheddar or Gouda cheese, thinly sliced (we like Plymouth Smoked Cheddar or Taylor farm Maple smoked Gouda)
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Zest from 1 orange
Smoked sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Toast nuts on sheet tray till just fragrant and lightly brown. Remove from oven allow to cool and chop coarsely.
  3. In a small saucepan, mix together the butter, maple syrup, rosemary, and heat gently till butter is melted and mixture is warm and rosemary is fragrant.
  4. Place bread on parchment lined sheet tray and brush the mixture generously over one side of each piece of bread.
  5. Toast tartine’s in the oven until golden and crispy, about 7 to 9 minutes.
  6. Using a sharp knife or mandolin, slice apple into very thin slices.
  7. Top the toasted bread with a neatly arranged layer of apple slices, covering the bread completely.
  8. Lay cheese slices over apples, and sprinkle with toasted chopped nuts, dividing evenly between the six slices of bread.
  9. Place tray back in oven to melt cheese.
  10. Remove from oven and sprinkle the orange zest over each tartine and then lightly season with smoked salt and black pepper to taste.
  11. Serve warm.

Bonus Treat! The Essex also included this delectable dessert- VT Maple Syrup Mousse

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup crème fraiche
1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
3/4 cup maple syrup, preferably grade B
2 large farm egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

Serves 6

  1. Whip the heavy cream, crème fraiche and the maple sugar until stiff peaks form, place in a large bowl and chill.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it dissolve.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup to boiling, watching closely that it does not boil over.
  4. In a stand mixer, whisk egg whites till frothy and add cream of tartar and salt.
  5. Continue whipping whites until they have almost reached stiff peaks and the mixture is glossy.
  6. Hold them with the whip turning on low until the maple syrup is up to temperature.
  7. When the syrup is boiling, take it off the stove and, with the mixer on high, carefully and slowly drizzle the syrup down the wall of the mixing bowl into the whites.
  8. Warm the dissolved gelatin over a bowl of hot water, until completely melted and drizzle it into the warm whites as well. Continue whipping until the meringue is cooled.
  9. Fold the maple mixture carefully (so as not to deflate either mixture) into the whipped cream.
  10. Pipe or spoon the mousse into dessert glasses and chill for at least 2 hours.
  11. If desired top with plain whipped cream or sweetened crème fraiche and dust with maple sugar.

The Essex is a true Vermont food destination for guests from near and far! We offer a unique mix of culinary offerings. Dine with us in Amuse, our signature restaurant that showcases the best of what Vermont farms offer. For a culinary adventure, have a seat at Chef's Table at Amuse. Our chefs offer the finest, freshest local ingredients and create a new array of courses each and every night. View, talk and taste as our chef prepares your food in front of you. Delicious and engaging! To try your hand in using some of Vermont’s finest ingredients, why not take a cooking class? Offered daily with a variety of classes to fit every cook’s interest, you will cook with a chef to teach and encourage you in this hands-on learning environment. If a relaxed casual evening is what you crave join us in The Tavern for some locally sourced pub favorites.

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