Tonight's Dinner: Savory baked apples
Everyone always stuffs apples into things from pies to pork chops to sausages, but what if you stuffed the apple instead? You get a delicious dinner kids and adults will just love.
It's the fall which means now is the time to go to the orchard and pick a ton of apples for all those delicious pies and cakes you may or may not have been craving. But if you're like me and don't have an apple picking orchard anywhere near you, then head over to the farmers market or grocery store and grab as many apples as you can fit into your basket. I love this time of year because of all the varieties available. It's not just Granny Smith and Red Delicious anymore. Now there's Gala, Pink Ladies, Fujis and a dozen others all with different grades of sweet or tartness. It no longer matters if you prefer sweet or tart because I guarantee there's an apple out there that you will love. But now isn't the time to save those apples for pies and cakes -- now is when you get to experiment with the fruit by adding them to your dinner recipes.
I love adding fruit to a savory recipe because it adds a sweetness that balances out the otherwise salty dish. I've added apples to my stuffing and my meatballs. I've even stuffed pork chops with the finely chopped fruit. But there's one thing I had yet to try, and that was stuffing the apple instead. That's right, thanks to a suggestion from Parents magazine, I sliced off the top, cored the apple and stuffed it so it was almost bursting with a variety of ingredients that would make the perfect dinner all on their own. But chopping them up and stuffing them inside an apple not only excited me, it excited my toddler. Once he realized it was an apple that housed his favorite sausage, he couldn't get enough. And neither could we.
Baked savory apples
- 6 ounces sweet sausage
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup cooked white or brown rice
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large apples, Fuji or Braeburn are good options
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium-high heat until browned, about five minutes. Transfer sausage mixture to a medium bowl. Mix in the rice, rosemary, thyme and olive oil and set aside.
- Slice the tops off each apple and a thin slice from the bottom to allow them to stand flat. Core the apples from the top using a melon baller or small spoon going to, but not through, the bottom of the apple. Use the melon baller or spoon to scoop out the apple leaving about a 1/4-inch apple shell. Chop up a half cup of the scooped-out apple and add it to the sausage mixture.
- Place the apples in a 2-quart baking dish. Fill each apple with the sausage mixture. Pour cider into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm in shallow dishes drizzled with the cooking liquid.