Sunday, December 27, 2009

Recipe: Q&D Wassail

Ever since my aunt introduced me to the idea, I've been a big fan of "Q&D" (Quick & Dirty) recipes: fast, easy, cheap "cheating" ways to make a tasty version of a typically more complicated or expensive dish. OK, so wassail isn't all that complicated really. But that doesn't mean you can't have a Q&D version! Make this with the cheap apple cider, the kind that's indistinguishable from apple juice. Or heck, just use apple juice, since nobody can tell the difference. Studding the cloves into the orange slices makes a really festive presentation, and it avoids the choice between putting a fabric bag in your drink or risking people getting a whole clove in their cup. If you're going to stick them through the rind to get a studded wheel appearance, though, do it before you slice the orange. Since this is Q&D, though, we stuck them into the flesh of the orange slices after they were sliced. That left them visible from the top; much nicer visual effect.

Quick & Dirty Wassail
1 gallon apple cider
1 orange
1 lemon
handful of whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Pour cider into a pot or slow cooker. Slice the orange and the lemon into 1/4"-1/2" slices. Stud the orange slices with the cloves. Place orange and lemon slices and cinnamon sticks into the cider. Heat over low heat for about 1 hour to bring the flavor out of the whole spices. Remove cinnamon sticks but leave the citrus slices for garnish. Serve hot. Makes 1 gallon.