This elevated grill cheese sandwich is all things double smoked cheddar and bacon, with a delicious, caramelized, herby, apple onion compote served between two rustic multigrain sourdough bread slices… grilled to a buttery, golden perfection!
Say hello to your new Fall favourite brunch, lunch, or anytime a day sandwich! The first time I had apple onion anything, was while visiting Niagara Falls, ON with my hubby! We love wine, going on wine tours, and in our own alternate world, we are world-class sommeliers (this is far from our reality). We visited Caroline Cellars, a family-owned farm and winery and had their grilled cheese with housemade apple-onion jam – it was the perfect dance party in my mouth! Since that day, I was determined to make it myself at home – so here we are! I hope you enjoy one of my favourite ways to eat a grilled cheese sandwich – Smoked Cheddar and Bacon Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Apples & Onion!
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Apple Onion Compote
In very simple terms, it is fruit that has been cooked in a sugar or syrup where the fruit pieces stay somewhat intact. So unlike jam, which is made from pureed fruit or fruit juices…compote still has pieces of fruit, or chunks of fruit preserved. For this version, I added a few herbs, as well as onions – delicious!
This is the life of the party, it’s what moves this grill cheese sandwich from ordinary to extraordinary! Here’s the best part, it’s simple to make! All you need to do is add all your ingredients into a skillet, and cook on a medium-high heat until reduced to a caramelized treat!
I would recommend you use Honeycrisp or Gala apples, they are mildly sweet, available year-round, and hold up pretty well in heat. You can also use Granny Smith apples, or your favourite variety. If you prefer a compote with a texture more like applesauce, you can opt for a softer variety.
How to Make Smoked Cheddar and Bacon Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Apples & Onion
1. Start with your Apples & Onions
You want to ensure you chop your apples into matchstick size pieces, similar to the size of your onions. By the end you should not be able to differentiate between the onions and the apples.
2. Cook your Bacon (Optional)
Move on to cooking your bacon. My preferred way is on a baking sheet rack in the oven on 400 degree Fahrenheit. This helps to ensure all the excess fats are drained, and the bacon retains is length and remain crispy.
3. Get Good Bread
You can most definitely use whatever bread you have in the cupboard, however if you can grab a good crusty whole grain, multigrain sourdough bread, choose that!
4. Cheese & Don’t Skimp on the Butter
Double smoked cheddar, sharp cheddar, and white cheddar – this is the combination. Nothing more needs to be said for this, although smoked gouda – is another great one! It’s so yummy, and don’t cheap out on the cheese! Also, butter is what gives the crisp, golden exterior, we all love to hear, feel and taste.
5. Assemble and Bring out the Grill Pan
Start by liberally spreading the butter on one side (or both) of your bread slices, add your cheese, bacon, and caramelized apples and onions. I also recommend using a cast iron skillet for this recipe – it’s non-toxic and works so well.
Smoked Cheddar and Bacon Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Apples & Onion
- Apple Onion Compote
- 2 Small Sweet Onions thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 Gala or Honeycrisp Apples chopped into matchsticks
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Sprigs Thyme
- 1 tsp Parsley
- Other Ingredients
- 6 Slices Multigrain Sourdough Bread
- 6 Slices Double Smoked Cheddar depends on size
- 1 1/2 cups Sharp Cheddar shredded
- 1 1/2 cups White Cheddar shredded
- 9 Slices Bacon optional
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- When oil begins to shimmer, add in the onions, apples, and garlic, stirring frequently until tender.
- Once soften, add the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, thyme and parsley until liquid has evaporated or apples and onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
- Butter the outside of each slice of bread.
- Buttered side down, evenly layer on your cheese, bacon, and caramelized apples onion compote.
- Heat your cast-iron grill pan over medium high heat and place the sandwiches, working in batches if necessary, in the skillet and cook until golden and crispy on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!