Thursday, November 10, 2011
Savory Stuffed Apples
Tall One's free time over the last few months has been filled with one thing: MARATHON TRAINING! That's right, last weekend Tall One ran the New York City marathon! The race didn't go quite as well as she would have liked, but she managed to finish and had the opportunity to experience NYC in a very unique way. With the race behind her, Tall One has been able to enjoy a little extra free time in the evenings this week, and could think of no better way to spend it than in the kitchen.
In honor of Tall One's recent athletic endeavor in The Big Apple, we bring you a recipe for Savory Stuffed Apples. They do require a bit of prep work, but are still easy enough to pull off as a weeknight side dish.
-3 baking apples (we suggest Empire)
-1/2 small onion, chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/4 lb sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
-2 fresh sage leaves, chopped
-1 slice of bread (multi-grain is really good, but any kind will work), torn into small pieces.
-splash of apple cider
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Core three apples from the top, but leave the bottoms intact so you are able to fill them later. Use a knife to create a wider opening so you are left with a cavity that is large enough to fill. Discard the cores and stems. Chop the remaining bits of apple that were removed from the cavity into small pieces. Set cored apples and chopped apples aside.
In a medium sized pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and allow to soften for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and sautee for another couple of minutes. Next add the sage and Italian sausage, and use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small bits as it cooks. Once the sausage is cooked through, toss in the chopped apple and let soften for a minute before adding the bread pieces and the splash of apple cider. Stir together until the mixture forms a stuffing consistency. Slowly add additional cider if needed. Finally salt and pepper to taste.
Spray a loaf pan (or other baking pan with sides) with cooking spray. Place hollowed apples in the baking pan and fill with stuffing. Bake for about 30 minutes or until apples become soft. Be careful not to bake your apples for too long, or you risk them falling apart when you trasnfer them to a plate.
Once you've stuffed the apples, crank the heat back up to medium under the same pan you made the stuffing in (don't eve bother cleaning it). Salt and pepper 2 boneless pork chops and then toss them in the pan to brown for about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the pork chops to a glass baking dish. Slice up one apple along with the other half of the onion you didn't use in the stuffing. Toss them into the baking dish with the chops. Finally pour enough apple cider into the baking dish to evenly coat the bottom, but not submerge the pork. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. (How convinient, that is the exact time and temp that the apples bake at!)
While your dinner is in the oven, whip up a delicious sauce to drizzle over everything. Over medium heat in the same pan you've been using all night, melt 1 Tbs of butter. Mix in 1 Tbs of flour and stir together for a minute or two to form a roux. Pour in about 3/4 cup of apple cider. Whisk the mixutre over medium heat until it begins to thicken. Stir in about a 1/4 cup of half and half and simmer over low heat until your meal is finished baking. Salt and pepper to taste.
Tall and Small