Is it mad to stuff an apple with sausage?
I spend far more time in restaurants than my own kitchen -- for me, figuring out how many shakes of salt and pepper to add to a prepared dish counts as cooking -- so I probably shouldn't have accepted a challenge to create a recipe for an upcoming state fair contest. But accept I did, and now I'm in desperate need of expert advice.
The rules of this sponsored contest require the entrant to use one of the company's cold cereals in the recipe. I settled on Apple Zings, mostly because it was the first name on the list. I started out by trying to recall recipes that called for something like bread crumbs, thinking crushed Zings could be a worthy subsitute. I thought about meatloaf. And then, since this is apple cereal, I thought about pork loaf. Finally, I came up with the idea of stuffing apples with cooked sausage mixed with crushed apple cereal and baking them.
Needless to say, the results weren't exactly blue ribbon-worthy. The flavors failed to meld, and the whole dish just seemed, well, weird.
Where did I go wrong? Should I be using ground pork instead of sausage? Is there a certain kind of sausage or apple that would help? Do I need to add some liquid?
Can this recipe be saved???
Yes, I feel that this is mad. But that's not exactly the attitude that wins contests, is it? Could you cut up some apples and cook it with the pork sausage so that they meld together more, so that you're putting a kind of stuffing in the apple and not just sausage? What's the cereal like? Is it super-sweet? Could you use a very tart apple to balance this out? And maybe lemon juice/rind?
Oh god, I just looked and see that these are copycat Apple Jacks. So sweet!
Stuffing the sausage and Apple Zings into the apple directly is going to be pretty inedible, I imagine. The fruit to meat ratio is all off. If you really want to stay with the meats, maybe you can try an apple-chicken sausages with crushed cereal for binding. The chicken should stand up better to the sweetness of the cereal and some thyme and sage could help to balance things out.
i agree with jungman. Pork and apples are friends so pork flavourings like thyme/sage would really help. I'd go with a tart apple that will keep it's shape, to cut the pork sausage richness and offset the cereal sweetness. Also, try halving the apple and scooping the core out so you can mound a good amount of stuffing on it. More meat, less apple would be better than apple with a bit of meat.
Sounds like a decent idea--and much better than that considering you don't cook ;)
What you want is a really deep, rich, savory flavor in the filling. I would suggest adding caramelized onion, thyme, fine herbes, fennel seed (sausage ingredient), garlic, balsamic vinegar, molasses, etc. What you really need is a friend who cooks without recipes to help you.
I posted elsewhere here a recipe that uses ground bison (great flavor) and Granny Smiths. The recipe I adapted it from called for cheese--I think. Try some smoked Gouda, parmesan--a good strong cheese flavor should help.
Basically what you're doing is a variation on stuffed bell peppers. With that in mind, you might consider a sauce as well ... (in my family, we always broke out the ketchup for the stuffed peppers).
Thanks so much for all the good ideas. I think hollowing out the apples a bit deeper and experimenting with well-seasoned chicken sausage (and possibly adding some chicken broth to prevent the cereal from drying out the stuffing) might be just the ticket. If I win the Malt-O-Meal coupons, I owe one to each of you.