Reader’s Digest(ibles): Almanzo’s Fried Apples n’ Onions

RD apples n onions

Sticking with the classics, my next trip down memory lane is Almanzo Wilder’s fried apples n’ onions from Farmer Boy. This book is seriously FULL of good eating– I came across a website that quoted every meal he ate in the book, and was drooling by the end of it. It all sounded amazing, but it’s too hot this summer to be roasting spare-ribs and cooking baked beans with salt pork, so I decided to go with something simpler: fried apples n’ onions.

This dish is just what it’s named– apples and onions, fried together. I don’t understand why most recipes online make it so sweet, adding tons of brown sugar and cooking until the apples and onions turn into mush. This is not apple pie we’re talking about here, this is a side dish, and Almanzo states in the book that he ate four helpings in one meal! If it were sweet I’m not sure that even I (with my notorious sweet tooth) would’ve been able to eat that much…

RD apples n onions ingred

Fried Apples n’ Onions

2 apples

2 onions (or one monster onion like the one I had)

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

3 tbs. butter, oil, or (my favorite) bacon fat

  1. Slice apples into thin wedges, and onions into wedges (not half-rings, wedges keep their shape better when cooked).
  2. Heat your fat over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet until a drop of water sizzles in it.
  3. Add in the thyme first and stir it in the fat for about 10 seconds before adding the remaining ingredients.
  4. Saute the apples and onions until tender.
  5. Crank the heat up to high and let things cook, undisturbed, until the apples and onions start to brown on the bottom. Give them a toss, add more seasoning if desired, and serve immediately.

RD apples n onions process

I get the impression that Almanzo’s apples n’ onions were a little more crisp at the edges, but these make a great side for pork or chicken– very autumn-ish. (that’s a word, right? Sure it is…) I can see someone wanting to eat a lot of this dish– it’s sweet and savory all at once, very good comfort food.


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