The other day, I was talking with a friend who learned a new trick. He hollowed out a bunch of apples and stuffed them with canned cinnamon rolls and baked them for a special treat for all of his friends for thanksgiving. I thought this was a great idea, but seeing as how I'm vehemently opposed to glutenous things, and certainly canned glutenous things, I decided to use his idea and tweak it for my own purposes. Instead of making it a sweet creation, I made it into a savory creation that just happened to have some sweetness to it.
It was GREAT! If you think of some clever way to use this idea, while keeping it healthy, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I'd love to expand on this idea. Maybe use a different fruit. Maybe a different stuffing. Let your imagination run wild!
Paleo Stuffed Apples
Chicken Sausage, Fig and Pecans
Paleo Chicken Sausage and Fig Stuffed Baked Apples
A friend of mine told me how he made a yummy dessert for his friends for thanksgiving. The southern boy in me thought it sounded yummy. The health and body conscious boy in me thought that I could use this clever idea to make something that my clients and fellow foodie health nuts would appreciate.
In his recipe, he cored out apples and sprinkled the inside with sugar and spices, then he stuffed a cinnamon roll out of a can into each one of the apples and baked them. If it were me, and I was being real bad, I’d make a bourbon sugar glaze to drizzle over the top. But I’d NEVER do that… without a real good excuse! (Christmas morning?!)
Instead of allowing my inner fat kid to come out, I decided to go the savory route with this idea. And it turned out better and more dietarily fulfilling than I could’ve ever imagined! Instead of empty calories from sugar and processed pastry, I added protein in the way of chicken sausage, healthy fats in the way of pecans and even some bacon fat, and the dried figs impart healthy nutritional values like fiber, vitamin K, potassium, calcium and iron, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And we all know that apples contain a lot of fiber.
4 apples, cored with a paring knife, keep the bottom intact
2 strips of uncured bacon
1 link uncooked chicken apple sausage
1 onion, medium dice
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
1/2 Cup chopped parsley
7-9 dried figs, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
For this recipe, core out about 4 apples. Don’t try to make the sides too thin. And I kept the top and cut off the core just below the stem part. Then I put the apples in acidulated water. This didn’t really seem to keep them from starting to turn, but I got them stuffed and into the oven quick enough, anyway.
I rendered the fat from the bacon and removed the meat once it was fairly crispy. I happened to find a chunk of uncured and unsliced bacon, which was probably just the ends of the slab that they couldn’t really slice anymore. So I was able to cut the bacon into nice lardon shapes. (These aren’t techinically lardons, because those are generally from unsmoked but cured pork.)
In the meantime, I boiled some water and tossed the chopped dried figs into the water and let it simmer for a little bit, just until the figs are starting to get soft. Don’t boil the hell out of them. And don’t use too much water. You’ll want to strain the figs and save the liquid. I just fished the figs out with a slotted spoon and left as much flavor in the water as I could. After the figs absorbed the water and I separated the fruits out, I was left with about a half a cup of liquid.
In the bacon grease, start to cook your sausage and onions. As your sausage browns, add your figs in there. You could add the apple pieces that you cut away from the core after you hollowed out your apples. Just about when your meat is cooked, add in your parsley and pecans. Season with salt and pepper.
The mixture will be sweet, so cut the sweetness with the liquid from the figs. Add some balsamic vinegar to the fig juice and then you can pour it into the mixture. Toss all that together and stuff it into your apples.
Be careful not to force too much of the filing into the apple. If you create a lot of pressure inside the apple, it will surely split as it bakes. I tried different apples for this recipe and the ones that didn’t split were the crispier kind. So I would go with a gala or red delicious, maybe braeburn. You can totally use any kind of apple, even granny smith.
Put the apples on a parchment lined baking sheet, top with the apple top and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.
This was delicious! The trick with making it perfectly balanced is to taste and adjust the filling before you stuff the apples. And you might want to season the apples inside. Just make sure it doesn’t get to be too sweet.
This is an awesome dish and a great idea for healthy dinner ideas. You can make several if you’re having a dinner party. One is plenty filling and super healthy!
Some of the items I used in this recipe are as follows.
Gastrolux Non-Stick pan! My FAVE!