Has it really been a whole month since the last installment of Secret Recipe Club? Eeesh. I don't know about anyone else, but these past few weeks have just flown by in a blur of activity. I still can't believe we're already a week into November!
This month, my SRC assignment is Lesa and her blog, Edesia's Notebook. Lesa is a busy stay-at-home-mom of two from Michigan, and her blog is chock-full of recipes for quick, easy and creative weeknight meals, including a bunch of really interesting slow cooker recipes that had me itching to dust off my long-neglected crockpot (she's even got recipe to make sandwiches in the crockpot, believe it or not!).
After poking around Lesa's blog for a bit, I decided to save the crockpot recipes for another day, because I really wanted to try the recipe for a savoury Apple Cheese Beer Bread that had caught my eye.
It was a pretty easy choice, to be honest. For one, I'm on a total apple kick right now, and I've yet to meet a savoury quickbread I didn't love. Plus this bread has cheese. And beer. Seriously, how could I pass up this recipe? It's got my name written all over it! :)
As always, I made a few changes as I went along - I doubled the amount of grated apple, added a little garlic, pepper and fresh sage to the sauteed apple mixture to give it a little extra flavour, and topped the loaf with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar partway through baking to give it a crispy, cheesy crust. I also decided to make one big loaf instead of two smaller ones, but that's just because I didn't want to buy a second loaf pan (yes, I'm lazy... I admit it).
The loaf turned out beautifully tender and moist, slightly sweet thanks to the grated apple, but still savoury enough to pair with a hearty stew. Surprisingly enough, the beer flavour is barely noticeable, despite having used a whole bottle of dark beer.
My only complaint is that the apple flavour isn't quite as pronounced as I'd like... next time around, I think I'll boost the grated apple up to 2 cups to see if I can get a more appley result without compromising the texture too badly.
That said, I'm still super-pleased with my secret recipe. We ended devouring most of the loaf with friends who came over for Sunday dinner, as an accompaniment for a vegetarian Guinness stew they'd brought along - the bread was a perfect pairing for the hearty stew, and everyone agreed that this recipe is a keeper. I'll definitely be making this one again!
- 1 cup grated peeled Cortland or Gala apple
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup shallots, minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 3 cups flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ cups dark beer or hard cider
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1¼ cup grated sharp cheddar, divided
- Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a standard loaf pan.
- Press the grated apples between two layers of paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat, and add apple and shallot. Saute for 7 minutes, or until soft. Stir in garlic, sage and pepper, and cook for 1 minute longer or until fragrant. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cooked apple, beer, applesauce, and 1 cup shredded cheddar, and stir until just barely combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth out the top.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup cheddar. Return to the oven to bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.