Mabon Cooking & Recipes

No Pagan celebration is really complete without a meal to go along with it. For Mabon, celebrate with foods that honor the hearth and harvest —breads and grains, autumn veggies like squash and onions, fruits, and wine. It's a great time of year to take advantage of the bounty of the season! Here are five of our favorite fall recipes!

Baked Apples With Salted Caramel Sauce

Baked Apples
Make a bunch of baked apples to celebrate Mabon. Armstrong Studios / Photolibrary / Getty Images

 

Mabon, the autumn equinox, is the season in which the apples orchards are blooming. Typically at their most abundant in the fall, an apple orchard is a great place to spend the afternoon – take your kids out, go apple picking for a day, and then come home and use your harvest to make delicious meals! Apples aren’t just for making pies – they come in handy for plenty of other things too. One of the annual favorites in our house is baked apples with salted caramel sauce. These are delicious and easy to make, and you can either serve them up as a snack, a side dish, or a dessert – the possibilities are endless!

This recipe is based in part on a traditional German Christmas dish, the Bratapfel, which is an apple stuffed with nuts, honey and plums. It’s also a completely shameless homage to my own love of caramel apples, which I think is one of the best parts of the autumn season.

Preheat your oven to 375 and gather your ingredients! Here’s what you’re going to need.

FOR THE BAKED APPLES:

  • 6 of your favorite kind of apples – Fujis or Granny Smith are the best
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • ½ C chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ¼ C golden raisins
  • ¼ C honey
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • Water

FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ stick unsalted butter (that’s 4 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (add more or less, depending on how salted you like your salted caramel)

DIRECTIONS:

Remove the core from the apples and hollow them out, leaving the bottom half-inch or so of the apple intact. The easiest way to do this is to start with an apple corer to remove the center (down to that half-inch point), and then grab a sharp paring knife to widen the hollow. Ideally, you’ll want to make it at least an inch wide, but go for two inches if possible, because you’re going to be stuffing that apple with other delicious things. After you’ve hollowed out your apples, place them in a baking dish with a little bit of water in the bottom. You can also use apple juice or cider, in place of the water, which will give your apples an extra bit of zing.

For your filling, combine the brown sugar, chopped nuts, raisins, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together in a bowl and mix well. Scoop the filling into the center of your hollowed out apples, and top each with a half tablespoon of butter. Place the baking dish in the oven, and bake for at least 30 minutes – 45 is probably better. You’ll want the apples to be tender but not mushy, so start checking them about half an hour in, because oven temps tend to vary.

Once they’re done, pull them out and baste them with the juice from the bottom of the baking dish, and then let them cool for ten minutes. Top them with salted caramel sauce, or a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Or both – we won’t judge you.

To make the salted caramel sauce, melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Add in the heavy cream and vanilla, whisking or stirring regularly. After about seven to eight minutes, you should see this mixture start to thicken. Add in the kosher salt, reduce heat to low, and whisk for another minute or two. Once you remove it from the heat, it will thicken even more, and be perfect for drizzling over your freshly baked apples!

Baked Apple Chips

Apple Chips
Make baked apple chips as a healthy fall snack!. westend61 / Getty Images

In the mythology of a number of different pantheons, apples are considered pretty powerful. The ancient Greeks associated them with beauty, fertility, and wisdom. To the Norse peoples, the apple symbolized youthfulness. Celtic tales connect apples to immortality. Today, we may not be using apples for any of those things (although some of us do), but the apple is still one of the most popular fruits of the Mabon harvest season.

From late summer into the middle of autumn, apples are abundant all over the place. In many areas, you can go pick your own, and bring home a bushel or two to do with as you please. One of the best – and easiest – ways to use apples is to slice, season, and bake them. Apple chips are super-simple to make, and they’ll last for ages if you store them in an airtight container. Not only that, they’re a healthy snack alternative to so many of the other things that we tend to eat on a regular basis.

Here’s a selection of five easy ways to make dried apple chips. Let’s get started.

You’ll need:

  • 4 apples (obviously, you can make more, just double or triple the seasonings as needed)
  • Seasonings (see below for recipe combinations)

For all of these recipes, you’ll need to wash and core the apples. Peeling them is up to you – I like mine with the peels still in place, but if your kids won’t eat them with a peel, get rid of it! Slice them thinly, around 1/8” thick. If you have a mandoline slicer, use it. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.

  • Apple Cinnamon Chips: Combine 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon and ¼ C. granulated sugar.
  • Spiced Apple Chips: Combine 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. ground cardamom, 1 tsp. ground cloves, and 1 tsp. ground ginger. Add 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar. This combination has a flavor similar to chai tea.
  • Savory Apple Chips: Combine 1 Tbsp. dried dill, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried basil, and 1 tsp. salt.
  • Barbecue Apple Chips: Combine 1 Tbsp. paprika, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. dried mustard powder, and 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper.
  • Ranch Apple Chips: ¼ C. dried buttermilk, 2 Tbsp. dried parsley, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. ground black pepper, and ½ tsp. salt. If you like, add in a teaspoon of dried chives as well.

Put your seasonings, whichever ones you’re using, in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add the apple slices, a few at a time, and shake the bag so the apple slices are completely coated on both sides. Spread the apple slices in a single layer on a baking sheet – I like to line mine with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Bake them for between 2-3 hours, turning them over with a spatula after about an hour.

Your baking time is going to vary on a number of things, including how hot your oven actually gets, and how juicy the apples were to start with. Juicy ones take longer to dehydrate. When your apples are crisp, and snap when you bend them, then they’re done baking. After your apples have thoroughly cooled, store them in an airtight container – they’ll last for a while this way, but chances are good your family will eat them long before they spoil!

Harvest Herbal Butter Blends

Herbal Butter
Mix up a batch of herbal harvest butter for your fall celebrations. Dave King / Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

When the Mabon season rolls around, most of us are still harvesting our herbs from the gardens. While we often use them in magical applications, it’s good to keep in mind that you can incorporate them into cooking and recipes. One of the easiest things to do with herbs is mix them up into a butter blend. You can spread this on fresh-baked bread during your Mabon feast or use it in your favorite recipes.

Think about all the different magical herbs you use on a regular basis that also have culinary applications. The possibilities are just about endless! Here are five of my favorite magical herbal butter blends. The easiest way to make your own butter is using a stand mixer, which is the way the directions are written here, but if you don’t have one of those, you can also put it in a large jar with a lid and shake it. This can be labor intensive and time consuming, so feel free to put your children to work if you choose the jar method. This recipe makes a full pound of butter, as well as about two cups of buttermilk (more on that in a minute), but you can blend smaller portions if you need to. Let’s get started!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Herb blend of your choice (see below)

This is a whole lot easier to do if you have a stand mixer, but it’s also a lot messier. The butter-making part is pretty easy. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of your stand mixer, add the salt, and then set your mixed on its lowest setting. Gradually increase the speed. Run it for a few minutes – at first it will seem like nothing is happening at all, and then it will look like you have a giant bowl of whipped cream. Keep the mixer running, because all of a sudden the cream will begin to clump up and separate from the liquid.

The clumpy yellow part is the butter, and the whitish milky liquid that separates from it is actually buttermilk. This is where it gets messy. Cover your mixer with a towel before you get started, because otherwise your entire kitchen will be covered in buttermilk splashes. I speak from experience on this.

Once the butter clumps are sticking to the paddle, you can turn off the mixer. Pour off the buttermilk into a container (you can use it later in other recipes!), and make sure you get all of it out. You may even want to place a colander or strainer over a jar and pour off the buttermilk that way. After you’ve removed the buttermilk, put the butter back into the stand mixer’s bowl. Here’s where you’re going to add your herbs. These are five of my favorite combinations, but you can experiment and try making your own.

  • Lemon Garlic Butter: Add ¼ C grated lemon zest, 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, and 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • Dill Butter: Add 1 C fresh chopped dill to your butter. You can also combine this with the lemon garlic butter above.
  • Savory Herb Butter: Combine 1 Cup each rosemary, tarragon, and sage, finely chopped.
  • Spicy Mustard and Chive Butter: Combine ½ C spicy mustard with ¼ C freshly chopped chives.
  • Sweet Honey Butter: Add 1 ½ - 2 Cups honey, depending on how sweet you like your butter. This will give you a more spreadable butter than the herbal blends, and it’s great on toast or breakfast biscuits.

Once you’ve added your choice of herb blends, turn the mixer back on, at the lowest setting, and mix it just enough so that the herbs are thoroughly mixed in with the butter.

Remove the butter blend from the mixer bowl. The first four work combinations really well if you want to shape them into logs, balls, or even decorative molds. However, the honey mixture is generally too soft and sticky to give it a lot of shape, so spoon that into your favorite jar or crock. Your herbal butters will keep up to two weeks in the fridge.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Squash Soup
Make a hearty squash soup for your Mabon celebrations. StockStudio / E+ / Getty Images

Butternut squash soup can be made in a variety of ways – you’ll find dozens of different recipes all over the Internet – but this is an easy way to do it. This recipe allows you to cheat a little, because while peeling and chopping a raw squash can be labor intensive, many of us are fans of working smarter, not harder - just roast the whole thing and then scoop out the guts to make the soup. This method works really well.

This is one of those recipes that is great to make early in the day, and put it in the crockpot on a low heat. Because you’re using already-roasted squash, there’s no need to overcook everything, but setting your crock on simmer will help warm all the other ingredients so it’s nice and toasty by the time dinner rolls around. Plus, it makes your house smell amazing. Let’s get started!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • Butter (around half a stick, but use as much or as little as you like)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • 1 C applesauce
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

First, roast your squash. Preheat your oven to 375, and cut the squash longways down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and strings, so that all that’s left is the meat. See the little hollows where you scooped the seeds out of each half? Put the butter in there. Alternately, you can melt the butter and brush it all over the inside of the squash – either method works just fine. Put the two halves, cut side up, in a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes.

While your squash is in the oven roasting away, you can go ahead and start the rest of your soup. If you want to use a pot on the stove, set it on low, or do like I do and use a crockpot on the lowest setting. Dice the onion into small pieces, and put them in the pot with the garlic, vegetable broth, applesauce and heavy cream. Cover the pot with a lid while it simmers.

Once your squash is done, let it cool for a few minutes, and then scoop the meat out of the center – it should be nice and tender by now. Place the squash meat into your blender or chopper and puree it so it’s smooth and creamy – depending on how big your blender is, and how big your squash is, you may need to do this in batches. It’s fine to do it that way. After you’ve pureed the squash, add it into the soup pot and stir gently to get it all blended together.

How long you leave your soup simmering is entirely up to you – if you’re doing it on the stovetop, be sure to stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. If you do it in the crockpot, I like to let mine go about four hours. About half an hour before you plan to serve it, chop up some fresh rosemary and stir it in, as well as adding as much salt and pepper as you like. I typically use a tablespoon of salt, because it really brings out the flavor of the squash when you season it well, but do whatever your palate prefers. Likewise, with the pepper, I typically add about a teaspoon.

If you like, garnish with a small dollop of sour cream and some chopped green onions. Serve this at your Mabon celebration with a big chunk of crusty bread, your favorite veggie dish, or anything else you can think of!

Note: An alternate method is something you can try if you’ve got an immersion blender – instead of pureeing the squash before adding it to the soup, add it in directly, and then use the immersion blender to puree it in the soup pot. Try it and see which way works best for you!

 

Buckeye Candies

Buckeyes
Make a batch of Buckeyes to celebrate fall!. Steven Depolo /Flickr/ Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

In the midwest, the Buckeye tree, or aesculus glabra, flourishes. It's part of the horse chestnut family, and although the nuts are toxic to anyone who's not a squirrel, it's a very prolific and abundant species. The small brown nuts, which begin dropping in late August, have been used for many years in some traditions of folk magic.

The Buckeye is associated with prosperity and abundance. Why not whip up a batch of Buckeye candies for your Mabon guests, and share your wishes for a bountiful harvest with your friends? This recipe has been popular in Ohio - the Buckeye state - since the 1920s.

Ingredients

  • 1 16-oz jar of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 pound bag of confectioners sugar
  • 1 C stick butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 12-oz bag of chocolate chips for dipping

Directions

Combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla together and cream until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar a little bit at a time until you've gotten it all mixed in. It should produce a really heavy, thick dough. Roll this into small balls (one inch diameter or less) and place them on wax paper. Chill in refrigerator until firm - if they get warm, they tend to get soft, like the ones in the photo above.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over low heat. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to dip each peanut butter ball into the chocolate -- be sure to leave a bit of the peanut butter showing at the top, so you get the brown-and-black look of a real Buckeye! Return the balls to the wax paper and allow to cool. Keep in an airtight container until ready to serve.

The great thing about these candies is that because the Buckeye is associated with prosperity and abundance, you can use this for magical purposes. As you mix and blend the ingredients, focus your intent on abundance, so that you can share it with your friends and family at Mabon or other Sabbat celebrations.

 

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Wigington, Patti. "Mabon Cooking & Recipes." ThoughtCo, Oct. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/mabon-recipes-4142766. Wigington, Patti. (2017, October 2). Mabon Cooking & Recipes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/mabon-recipes-4142766 Wigington, Patti. "Mabon Cooking & Recipes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/mabon-recipes-4142766 (accessed December 18, 2017).