Summer has seamlessly given way to fall. We wake up to crisp mornings and the sun warms up the day hour by hour. I can’t believe how fast time flies.
There is a happiness that comes with the beginning of each new season, but I miss the summer already and I dread the cold, hard winter that may come our way.
In the spirit of autumn, Sam and I went apple picking this weekend with a friend. As we pulled around the curvy bend of the road heading to the same farm where we picked apples last year I couldn’t help but feel like last year was just last night. Really? A whole year ago we were here? Did time go by that fast? Consequences of getting older…
We had a dandy time picking apples, eating waaaay too many apple cider donuts, and finding bite-size apples to munch on while we picked. We came home with 40 pounds of beautiful apples, five pounds of which our friend took with him.
What are you going to do with 40 pounds of apples?? People ask us incredulously.
Oh you’d be surprised how well we can handle our apples. This is apple season and we take full advantage. We will be making apple sauce and apple pies and apple cakes and other apple-y things. Believe you me, I have an arsenal of apple recipes and Sam can down a giant bowl of applesauce no problem.
One of our favorite new traditions has been to make these wonderful meat-stuffed apples. They are sweet, savory, and filling, perfect on a chill autumn night. Don’t question the combination – it’s delicious. As they cook, the meat and apple juices ooze into one saucy sauce in the pan and the soft crunch of baked apples pairs well with the heartier texture of the meat. The recipe is fairly customizable too – change the meat, the spices, leave out the bread and milk, suit it to your taste, but I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.
Savory Stuffed Apples
Based on Chef Jose Andres’ recipe
3 slices bread, crust removed and torn into small pieces
¾ cup milk
2 lb. ground beef or pork (we used beef)
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 T. chopped fresh sage
1 tsp. salt
good grind of black pepper
9-10 large baking apples
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.* Soak the bread pieces in milk while preparing other ingredients. Using a melon baller or sharp paring knife, dig out the core in your apples to make a deep well (careful not to go all the way through). Reserve any edible pieces of apple innards for later. To prevent apple explosion, score your apples 3 or 4 times on the outside, by lightly running a small knife down the apple just enough to break the skin. (As you can see before my apples still released some of their juices, but at least none exploded). Chop the onion and garlic and mix it with the meat, spices, and bread and milk mixture. Fill the apples with the meat mixture, carefully stuffed it inside and patting down the top to form a cap. You may need more apples, depending on the size of your apples or you can make mini meat loaves (as I did) with the remaining meat mixture. Bake in an ovenproof dish drizzled or sprayed with oil for 35-45 minutes or until meat registers 165 with a thermometer. Serve warm.
*I would actually try baking them at a lower temperature next time (375) as the tops got a little too brown before the middle was cooked all the way through.
Notice these guys burst a little. The ones pictured below, however, turned out beautifully!
With your reserved apple innards make a quick apple crisp for 1 or 2. Apples for dinner and dessert!
Here’s to the fall (despite farewell to summer) and to many more apple recipes!