Many people don’t appreciate the wonderful flavor of cider as a drink of choice but few people will probably argue with its merits when it comes to using it in cooking. Like wine, cider can be added to many recipes to enhance the flavor of meat, soups, vegetables and of course delicious desserts! The exciting thing about using cider in cooking is that it has a dimensional quality all of its own. The flavors in cider are both sweet, tart, aromatic and acidic all in one hit. It is no secret that apples go remarkably well with pork and therefore adding cider to the residual juices of a pork chop or pork roast will make the most delicious gravy. Like we would use a measure of wine to cook a chicken casserole we can add cider to that same dish or indeed any meat casserole or stew to make it more tender and full in flavor.
In addition to adding cider to meat dishes it is also a wonderful addition to many types of fish. Often our most favorite white, fleshy fish such as cod or haddock can be a little lackluster if we don’t know the best way to enhance it. Adding a dash of cider before baking along with good seasoning and herbs can absolutely help to create a subtle and delicious dish. Cider also works well added to shellfish, especially mussels, to make a delicious fish stew. When thinking of adding cider to any of these such savory dishes it’s good to consider complementary ingredients such as honey, mustard, cream and herbs like thyme or rosemary. For example the classic sausage can be wonderfully elevated when a mix of cider, mustard and honey are reduced together to form a glaze that can then coat the sausages. Also using apple cider vinegar to enhance the flavor of the humble cabbage makes a wonderful accompaniment to simple grilled salmon, as when added to a little cream it off sets the richness of the fish beautifully.
What better way to add an extra level of interest to a simple soup then to put a dash of cider in amongst the vegetables or protein used. Similarly adding a dash of cider to the last stages of cooking roast potatoes or other vegetables can produce an added layer of flavor and a delicious sticky glaze. Want something delicious to eat along side that hearty soup or vegetables, why not try making bread adding a bit of cider. It works equally well with yeast based breads or soda type breads helping both to taste extra delicious.
The nice thing about adding cider to fruit dishes is that the apple flavor enhances the existing flavor of the fruit that you are using. Cider added to poached pears or other fruit is a wonderful addition and likewise adding cider to an apple cake just elevates the flavor to another level. What could be better than eating ice cream with a delicious apple cider cake. How about trying Apple Cider Cinnamon ice cream, a combination of cider, cinnamon, cream and of course sugar produces a heavenly accompaniment to any number of other desserts. Finally if you are looking for some really simple and delicious comfort food how about combining the satisfying taste and texture of the iconic doughnut with a scrumptious dipping sauce. Cinnamon Sugar-Cider Doughnuts combine the wonderful pairing of the cider and cinnamon and to enhance that can be dipped or drizzled with a glaze made from boiled down sugar, butter and of course the cider. The good thing about using cider in cooking is that it is relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain making experimentation all the more appealing! So the next time you’re feeling creative try introducing a little cider into the mix!