Italian sausage-stuffed apples
It’s apple season, but alas, one can eat only so many desserts. This recipe transforms fall’s favorite fruit into a hearty main dish. I used sweet-sour Jonagolds, but any large baking apple will do. Be careful not to scoop too much of the flesh out when hollowing the apple. To serve as a side dish, cut the apples in half after baking, and drizzle with a little maple syrup.
- 6 ounces coarse country bread, crusts removed
- 2/3 cup milk
- 8 Rome Beauty, Stayman, Winesap, Jonagold or other good baking apples
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 10 ounces Italian sweet fennel sausage, casings removed
- 3 to 4 slices imported provolone cheese, finely diced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pull the bread into large pieces and place in a bowl. Pour in milk and let stand while you prepare the apples.
Cut a 1/2-inch slice off the stem end of each apple. With a melon baller or grapefruit spoon, scoop the core from each apple, being careful not to pierce the blossom end. Continue to scoop the apple flesh to form a hollow cavity with sturdy sides. Rub cavities with lemon juice.
Squeeze as much milk as possible from bread, place in a bowl and add sausage, cheese, egg and parsley. Mix well, then season with salt and pepper and mix again.
Spoon sausage mixture into the apple cavities, mounding the tops. Place the apples in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour water into the dish to a depth of about 1/4 inch.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Serve immediately.
— “An Apple Harvest” by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva (Ten Speed, 2010, $16.99)