When seasons change, people look to different foods to reflect those temperature changes. One food that is almost synonymous with fall is apples, but you don’t have to restrict your apple consumption to sweet dishes. Allow apples to become the basis of a healthy autumnal dish, and you’ll have an entire meal, right inside an apple.
Savory Baked Apples
To make this delectable dish, you will need the following ingredients:
2/3 cup of chicken broth
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
1/3 cup of apple cider
1/3 cup of uncooked, long-cooking brown rice
4 large thoroughly washed and cored large Roma apples
1 ½ tablespoons (or more as necessary,) of melted butter
1 four-ounce sweet Italian sausage link – preferably without a casing, but if that’s not possible, you’ll need to remove the casing.
1 cup of finely minced onion
1/3 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup of finely diced carrots
1/8 teaspoon of ground hot red pepper (optional)
3 minced cloves of garlic
¼ cup of toasted chopped walnuts
¾ teaspoon of Kosher salt
3 tablespoons of finely minced green onions
½ teaspoon of dried sage
½ cup of finely shredded low-fat Swiss cheese
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees so it reaches the right temperature by the time you’re ready to cook the apples.
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a rapid boil. Add the brown rice, stir, cover the pot and turn the heat down to a simmer. Allow the rice to continue cooking for 50 minutes. Then remove it from the stove and let it stand for another 10 minutes.
In the mean time, put the cranberries and apple cider in a microwave-safe bowl. Make sure the microwave is set to the highest power, and cook these ingredients for one minute. Remove from the microwave and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Then add the cranberries and apple cider to the rice.
Using a small spoon (a serrated grapefruit spoon is ideal,) remove the fleshy meat from the apple, allowing ½ inch of the flesh and skin to remain. Chop the removed apple flesh.
Take a basting brush and coat the entire inside of each of the apples with melted butter. Cover a baking sheet with non-stick spray or line it with non-stick foil so the apples won’t stick to it. Place the apples on the baking sheet so that they stand upright. Cook them for roughly 25 minutes, or until they’re tender when you pierce them with a fork.
If the Italian sausage came with casing, remove the casing now. Then add the cut up sausage link to a large skillet. Continue to cook it over a medium to medium-high heat. Use a heavy duty cooking fork or spoon to break the sausage up so that it turns into crumbles. Make sure that the sausage is completely cooked. Remove it from the skillet and place it aside. Add the remaining butter to the skillet and melt it again. Next add the chopped apples, minced onions and finely diced carrots. Add the cinnamon, ground red pepper (optional,) and sauté until the onions are translucent and the apple pieces are soft. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.
Add walnuts to the sausage and onion mixture and then add all of this to the rice. Add the minced green onions, Kosher salt and dried sage. Blend all of these ingredients thoroughly.
Heap equal portions of the rice/sausage/apple mixture into each of the apples. Sprinkle the top of each apple with shredded low-fat Swiss cheese.
Place under a broiler for about 5 minutes until the cheese melts and turns a golden brown.
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