Michelob Ultra Light Cider Braised Fennel and Green Apple

Is it just me or do women’s bathing suits seem to be getting smaller and smaller with each passing year?

Maybe it’s just that I prefer to believe that they’re getting smaller than the alternative…

Although my 12-year may insist that it’s just that fact that she now wants to wear one of the itsy-bitsy pieces of spare cloth that has me objecting so strongly to their obvious decrease in stature! There may be some truth to that…

Since the pressure to look good in these miniscule bikinis starts somewhere around New Year’s with the yearly onslaught of New Year’s Resolution crap and only gains steam as summer approaches, I’m always on the lookout for ways to reduce calories without sacrificing flavor.

I found this new Light Cider from Michelob ULTRA that’s sure to be welcome at any bikini clad summer party. Or not bikini clad if you prefer…

Doesn’t it just scream drink me?

While I typically think of cider as a fall drink, Anheuser-Busch has really made this a win-win for summer. This crisp and refreshing mild cider is great alone or poured over a tall glass of ice. And it makes a pretty killer Apple Cider Sangria, if I do say so myself… It’s not only less sweet than a traditional hard cider but it also has 1/3 less calories.

Being that it’s naturally sweetened and made from hand-picked apples I knew it would be the perfect complement to a nice light dinner with sliced Braised Fennel and Green Apples. The mild sweetness and tang in the cider really enhances the flavor of the fennel.

If you prefer to make this as a side dish, or vegetarian, simply omit the Chicken and Apple Smoked Sausage and substitute vegetable stock in place of chicken stock.

As an added bonus, it can all be made in just one pot, which leaves more time for hanging out at the beach in that bikini. Although on second thought, maybe that’s not such a good thing…

Michelob Ultra Light Cider Braised Fennel and Green Apple

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 large fennel bulb

2 tbs. vegetable or canola oil

1 – 12 oz. pkg. chicken and apple smoked sausage links (or 4 links)

1 c. onion, roughly chopped

1 tbs. garlic, minced

1 green apple, cored and thinly sliced

¼ c. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider

1 c. chicken stock

2 tsp. fresh thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Cut of the fronds and stalks of the fennel and set aside for another use. Remove the core of the fennel bulb and set aside with the fronds and stalks. Cut the remainder into 2” x ½” strips. One large bulb should yield approximately 3 cups of fennel. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage links and brown lightly. Once browned, remove the sausages from the pan and set them aside.

Add the onions to the pan, and cook 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking till the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the fennel strips and the sliced apple, and cook till tender-crisp, approximately 10 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the hard cider, simmering for 2-3 minutes to burn off the alcohol.

Add the chicken stock and thyme and return the sausages to the pan, making sure to nestle the sausages at least halfway down into the liquid.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the fennel and apple are soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For more information, visit the sponsor’s site.

Which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Light Cider? Check out the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on Blogher.com to see what other bloggers think!

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Comments

  1. 1

    I’ve never been a fan of beer, so a cider based beer might be just the thing! Also – LOVE the dish you made with it…it’s perfect!

  2. 2

    Love the flavors in this dish! Perfect for summertime, or anytime!

  3. 3

    Love this recipe! The combination of fennel and green apple – along with the cider – sounds absolutely incredible Jen. And, the best part? The extra time on the beach in my bikini ;-) – hee.hee!

  4. 5

    Well I have not seen this in stores, but I will have to go look for it. I love a good hard cider. Your recipe however makes very good use of the cider if I do say so.

    Hopefully the kids are giving you a bit of a break from the “I’m bored” and allowing you to enjoy the summer (bikini or no bikini).

  5. 7

    I haven’t tried this cider yet! You’ve given me two reasons: two quaff my summer thirst and to give those gorgeous fennel bulbs a braise (have you noticed how gorgeous they are in the stores right now? I just bought one and turned it into a slaw this weekend for that very reason).

  6. 9

    I’ve not seen this cider yet, though I haven’t looked for it. Glad to be introduced to something new and light! The braised fennel and apple looks wonderfully light, too! Great flavors and I just love chicken sausages. I’ve not worn a bikini in 13 years! So I won’t feel guilty to have a second helping of this luscious summer ‘stew’! I’m really glad to see you back, Jen…love your new picture and you look GREAT! : )

  7. 11

    Every year, a friend hosts his own “brew fest” where he showcases the best of his home brew concoctions. This new cider sounds like one of his – although I have to admit, his jalapeno beer was my favorite. I’ll be on the lookout for this.

  8. 12

    P.S. Love your new picture!

  9. 14

    Yum! This looks like a fun drink, and I love what you made with it!
    Swim suits are definitely smaller, but what about the shorts as well?! I mean really, you go out and every single girl has shorts on that are barely there. I think my underwear would stick out they are so dang short! So glad I have a boy….well maybe that is a whole different set of issues.

  10. 16

    such a creative use of the cider! this sounds like a truly delicious dish!

  11. 17

    My husband would love this!! Looks amazing and I love it displayed like that in your pot!! Well done. :)

  12. 18

    Not sure if we can get this product up here in the Great White North but your dish sure does look amazing!

    As for the bathing suit issue? My daughter isn’t at the same stage as your daughter (I’ll be there in 4 more years) but I still get my bod into a bikini (after 3 kids that’s no mean feat). I find that some one-piece suits just don’t hide what I need it to hide. ;)

    Love your new profile pic!!

  13. 20

    I was wondering that exact thing this afternoon! My mediums from last year fit fine and the mediums I bought this year are too small. WTF? I am so aggravated!

    Maybe I just need to make this recipe more often!

    • 21

      It makes me feel like 1000 times worse to go bathing suit shopping with my 12 year old who looks fabulous in a bikini. Grrr…

  14. 22

    Hmmm, I do like some good cider so I’d for sure pick this up at the store, Great recipe and I gonna pass on the bathing suit issue…I’m still working on the Speedo’s :(

  15. 24

    Is that a new profile picture…so pretty! And this is a dish I’d make just for me…hubby does not like fennel, but he has a couple upcoming meetings out of town…and while he’s away, I’ll make all the foods I love and he doesn’t!

    PS…I have a teeny gift for you from France. Could you please send me your mailing address?

  16. 26

    Oh yummy! This looks fantastic!! I need to try that beer!

  17. 27

    Love one pot meals! And my bikini has definitely shrunk since I bought it :)

  18. 29

    LOVE this new brew–I’ve been drinking bottles and bottles without fear of packing on the pounds! I love your recipe too–cant wait to give it a try!

  19. 30

    I’ve never been a big fan of beer but I love the dish you made with it! Looks amazing, Jen!

  20. 31

    Wow, I bet the cider does wonders in this recipe. Love it!

  21. 32

    Yes, the bathing suits are much smaller than they used to be. I am glad to know that someone else has noticed this, too. ;-) This dish looks like a delicious and quick supper. I am sure the fennel and apple make it very flavorful.

  22. 33

    I think I would like the cider way more than the regular beer. I am not a big beer drinker. The meal looks wonderful. Nothing like cooking with a bit of alcohol.

  23. 34

    Jen this looks fabulous. I have never tried cooking with cider. What a great idea.

  24. 36

    I sort of gave up on wearing a bathing suit after my 2nd kid. Well, I’m on a diet too – and have been on and off diet for how long?…. This looks great! Cider based beer? I’m not a beer fan at all but curious how it’s like with cider. Maybe this might be the first beer I enjoy….and if not, we always have this delicious recipe as a reward of trying. :-)

  25. 39

    Jen, this dish looks amazing! Now that I’ve accepted the fact that I like beer, I can’t wait to try this one. :D
    (I love the new profile pic!)

  26. 41

    Huh, the cider sounds interesting. And this dish sounds out of this world! Love the fennel and green apple in the mix. Great flavors!

  27. 42

    Long time no talk to. Hope you are well. I have been so busy I have only been able to read so many posts per week.

    Great recipe. Dan and I tried that beer at a tasting at Total Wine a while back. It is good.

  28. 44

    Ugh, I hate bathing suit shopping–might explain why I haven’t worn one for a couple of years. What a fabulous-looking dish! I love hard cider and haven’t had any in ages–might need to check this out.

  29. 46

    Sounds like a delicious meal =)

  30. 47

    Braised fennel!!???? Hello!! I’ll definitely be trying that, I love fennel.

  31. 48

    I love this recipe! Apples and fennel are a great combo and I love to cook with beer – this cider looks soo refreshing. Well done.

  32. 50

    Sausage, fennel and apple braised in cider, light cider at that?? Yum, I will have to try that! I have not seen the lighter cider but I will be on the look out!

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