Thursday, May 17, 2012

Savory Stuffed Apples

Well, good morning. I just put Dash down for a nap and am now perched on a lawn chair in the backyard soaking up the sun. Simultaneously tanning and blogging = killing two birds with one stone. It's been gorgeous here for the last week or two. Consistently sunny and over 65 degrees. Not the usual fare for May in Oregon, but man, it feels good. Last night after dinner Joe and I took Dash for a walk around town. We (and by we I mostly mean I) like to hunt for foreclosed or abandoned houses then lurk around creepily as we peek in the windows and try to envision its hidden potential. We don't own a house right now nor can we afford to until Joe is no longer a student and has a real job, but it's fun to pretend. In theory, the idea of buying an old run down place and slowly bringing it back to life seems tantalizing. However, I'm fairly certain the reality of renovation is much less glamorous. All the same, I'd be lying if I said I didn't idly wile away the time on occasion by imagining what walls we could blow out or where we could put new french doors or how we could rearrange the kitchen.

Speaking of the kitchen, last night I made dinner! It's been a while. Since getting back from my Seattle adventure our routine has been a little off kilter. Last night's fare was a new twist on an old favorite: baked apples. I love baked apples but up til now have only made them as a dessert. This recipe uses the apples as a vehicle for a scrumptious stuffing-like filling full of sausage, cheese, cranberries, walnuts and rice. Intrigued yet? You should be.


Savory Stuffed Apples
Serves: 4

4 honeycrisp apples, cored
1/3 cup brown rice
chicken broth
1 1/2 TBL butter
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup apple juice or cider
6 oz. Italian chicken sausage
1/3 cup carrots
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 cup gruyere

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. After coring the apples, use a spoon to scrape out the inside until the apple wall is only 1/2 inch thick. Don't look at the picture I posted for reference because I didn't scrape out enough of the insides and it was way too thick. Reserve whatever apple scrapings are left over.
3. Brush the inside of the hollowed out apples with 1 TBL butter. Place the apples in a greased or foil-lined baking dish and cook for 30 minutes or until tender (if you leave the apple walls too thick like I did then they will take forever to cook and still won't be soft by the time you're so frustrated you decide to just take them out of the oven anyway).
4. Combine the rice and chicken broth in a rice cooker and let it cook. Mine usually takes about 20 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes once the cooking process is complete. 
5. Combine cranberries and juice in a small bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Let sit for 10 minutes.
6. In a pan over medium heat, cook the sausage until brown and set aside. Wipe out the pan and add remaining 1/2 TBL butter. Saute remaining apple innards, onions, carrots, garlic, cinnamon and cayenne pepper together until onions are tender and translucent. 
7. In a large bowl mix together rice mixture, sausage, onion mixture and remaining ingredients (reserve some of the cheese to sprinkle on top).
8. Once the apples shells are done baking, remove from oven and switch to Broil. Fill the apples with rice/sausage mixture, dividing evenly between all four. Sprinkle reserved gruyere on the tops of the apples.
9. Broil for a minute or two or until cheese is bubbly (keep your eye on the apples as this happens fast!) and remove from oven. Serve with a balsamic salad and some sort of refreshing beverage (we opted for a gin and tonic) and enjoy this glorious meal!


If you are making this for two, make the same amount of stuffing and use the leftovers the next day wrapped in a pork loin! The sweetness of the apples and cranberries pairs deliciously with pork. I'm also betting this recipe could be really good on the grill too. So many options! 

Enjoying a spring evening walk with the fam.




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