First of all, I’ve never had a baked apple.
Second of all, what exactly does one stuff an apple with?
Both of these culinary curiosities were explored this week for the sake of first-time cooks everywhere!
To start off, half the apples and hollow them out, leaving about 1/4 of an inch of apple lining within them. Having never hollowed out apples before, it took a few genius attempts for me to figure out the best method involved a paring knife-soup spoon double-team. It’s also a good idea to buy extra apples, because if you’re a virgin apple hollow-er like me, you’re bound to slip up and boof a few apple halves before it’s done right.
I’ve also got two tips for you here: avoid pigging out on apple innards, or you’ll be too full to enjoy your creation, and watch your fingers because knives are sharp!
Now, place the apples on a baking sheet and set them to the side.
The next thing you want to do is bring the mushroom broth (I substituted vegetable broth) to a boil and then add the rice. It will take at least 50 minutes for the rice to absorb the liquid while it cooks at a medium-low temperature. In that time, you can do other things, such as chop 1/4 cup of red onion, go to the store to buy mushrooms to chop because you forgot to purchase them earlier in the day (you’re a real busy person, after all) and drink whisky sodas because the Jean-Paul Sartre you’ve got to knock out for your ethics class drives you to drink. (But go easy on the whisky, though, because you’ve got to deal with the vengeful oven later.)
The recipe calls for the quinoa to be added to the pot and cooked for an additional 20 minutes, but in all honesty, you probably want to throw the quinoa in after the rice has been cooking for 35 minutes and let the concoction do it’s thing for about 35 more minutes. The quinoa takes a while to cook.
When the rice and quinoa are about ten minutes away from being done, put the olive oil, mushrooms, sage and onions into a pan. Saute them for about seven minutes or until browned.
The recipe sort of falls into place after this.
Just remove your pot of grains from the heat, add the saute and toss in the cream cheese and cranberries. A few stirs with a spoon will make everything creamy. Then you’re ready to stuff the apples. Be mindful that anything you’ve just immediately removed from the stovetop will be hot!
After you’ve got the apples filled, add about a cup of water to your baking sheet — it won’t overflow, but you do have to be careful not to spill it. Then cover the apples with foil. You don’t really have to do this, but the recipe suggests it. I’m still out of foil from that shepherd’s pie.
Leave the apples in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. It’s optional to top the apples with white sharp cheddar cheese and let dinner bake for an additional 15 minutes. I tried a few with and a few without. I recommend you add the cheese, because it gives the food a satisfying crunchy texture.
As a whole, this recipe was only okay. The flavors were good, but it was hard to get full on the baked apples. There’s just something about the apples that makes me feel like I’m eating a snack. And they don’t transport easily. I thought of that when I tried to pack them for lunch the following morning and realized I couldn’t realistically expect for the stuffing to stay put while the apples were tossed around my bag all day.
I recommend people try this recipe because the flavor is stunning and is a steal at only about 184 calories per half, but don’t make this your entree.
The difficulty level is medium because hollowing the apples was a dangerous pain!
Per Serving (1 stuffed apple half):
Protein: 4 g
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Carbohydrates: 30 g
Cholesterol: 8 mg
Sodium: 141 mg
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 13 g
1 cup mushroom broth
1/2 cup wild rice
1/4 cup red quinoa
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
4 medium Red Delicious apples
1/2 cup grated sharp white Cheddar cheese, optional
Time: 2.5 hours
Price: about $5 a serving depending on what ingredients you already have
Difficulty level: medium