Perhaps it was the fact that I was at my alma mater, Bay Path University, for 10 year college reunion this weekend – I’m an undergrad alum for the Class of 2006, a graduate alum for the Class of 2014, and $47k in the hole with SoFi. Ha! – but as I was taking that long boring bus ride back from Hartford to Manhattan, I was conjuring up all sorts of ideas for new recipes. Perhaps being back at school stimulated the ol’ brain synapses. I can’t tell you what spurred this idea. I was simply playing a matching game within my head. I thought, “Apples…pork…pork chops? No. That works, but I need to do something more interesting. Maybe sausage and apples? Maybe I could find ground sausage to stuff inside of the apples? YEAH!” Admittedly, I realized that I had started to talk aloud to myself as I caught a fellow busmate giving me a marginally amused sideways glance.
As I arrived back in Manhattan 20 minutes ahead of schedule, I still had a long ride home; when you live above 168th Street and the A Train isn’t running above 168th, that makes for a fun commute home. *myeh* By the time I got to my beloved C-Town, there was no ground sausage to be found and the cheap price of ground pork made me say, “Whatever! I’ll dress this up my own way.” (i.e.: I was actually cranky, hangry, and not in the mood to shop around.) After I ascended the stairs to my 4th floor walk-up with my backpack, my overstuffed Madewell tote, and two grocery bags, I was feeling bushed yet inspired to create this recipe. I was surprised how quickly this meal came together! From start to finish, this took about 45-ish minutes, and its 30 minute baking time was perfect; I took a post-travel nap and let my iPhone’s alarm wake me up. Let’s be honest: What’s better than waking up to hot food?
Okay, perhaps a few things, but this is what worked for me at the time. Ha!
(P.S.: Please forgive the mediocrity of these photos. My professional camera’s card went a little wackadoo after I had already started to prep and bake, so I did the best I could with my iPhone 6S and decent-enough natural lighting. Haaa. I’m hoping to re-shoot more salivary gland-inducing photos in the near future.)
Pork-Stuffed Baked Apples
(Makes 4 – 6 servings)
– 2 – 3 large baking apples (I used Rome)
– 3/4 pound ground pork
– 3/4 cup carrot, finely diced
– 1/4 turnip, finely diced
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons honey
– 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
Before We Get Started…
– I used turnip in this recipe merely to switch things up a bit; I would have probably used celery if I had any, but I didn’t, nor did I want to buy a big bag! That being said, you can switch up the turnip for celery, if you have it.
– I highest suggest using Rome apples; they yield a soft flesh when cooked for 30 minutes, but still hold their shape when cut into.
– If any pork mixture remains, store in the refrigerator for future use; if you don’t use it in apples, its great added into tomatoes for a makeshift tomato sauce!
1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.
2.) In a large frying pan, cook pork over medium to medium-high heat; allow to cook through completely and break up until finely crumbled. If there is excess fat, drain, if preferred.
3.) While the pork is cooking, cook carrot, turnip, and garlic in olive oil or butter over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until vegetables have softened. If vegetables start to turn brown, reduce heat.
4.) When vegetables are finished cooking, add to pork mixture, along with salt and honey. Mix until thoroughly combined.
5.) To prepare apples, leave skins on and slice in half. Scoop out seeds with a spoon, and continue to scoop out enough apple to allow pork to be stuffed into it. Once scooped, carefully spoon pork mixture into apples, being sure to fill the space.
6.) Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and eat immediately; store any leftovers! (This is meal that does save well for some work day lunches!)