Baked Apples with Savory Stuffing

Serves 4-5

(recipe adapted from the Canal House Cookbook Vol. No. 2)

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Take the Italian sausage out of its casing and cook, breaking the meat up with the back of a spoon until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Sir in the herbs and generously season with salt and pepper.  Add the breadcrumbs and toss to combine.

Cut off the top third of each apple. Using a small spoon, scoop out the center, removing the core, seeds, and just enough of the flesh to make a nice hollow for the stuffing. Divide the stuffing evenly between the apples, packing it into each hollow. Transfer the stuffed apples to a large baking dish. Dot each apple with a small knob of the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

Bake the apples until the flesh is tender and the stuffing is golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve each apple with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.