Most people think sweet when talking stuffed apples. These savory stuffed apples will change your mind.
Welcome to the world of dolma, or in our case, savory stuffed apples.
Dolma is basically a vegetable or fruit that is hollowed out and filled with a stuffing of minced meat, rice and herbs. More familiar versions are stuffed peppers or tomatoes, but include anything from eggplant and pumpkins to onions. The stuffing usually includes meat, but not always.
Dolma is common in the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, Russia and Central and South Asia.
Dolma may also be wrapped in leaves such as cabbage or grape leaves. As you might imagine with all these geographical regions, the various ingredients and methods of dolma are endless, so let’s talk apples.
These savory stuffed apples hail from Russia and feature rice, ground chicken, tomatoes and chili peppers.
Although this recipe utilizes the grill for a smoky flavor, see the notes for stove-top directions. Additionally, the ground chicken can be substituted with ground turkey, beef or even Italian sausage. Dolma really has no set rules.
- 8 medium apples
- 1-3/4 cups ground chicken
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 10-oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies (Ro-Tel), drained
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Cut the top off of the apples. Using a paring knife, cut out the core and discard. With a teaspoon, carefully carve out the inner flesh of the apples leaving about 1/4 to 1/2-inch of flesh. Reserve removed flesh.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, onion, garlic and cilantro. Mix well.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the ground meat mixture and fry until meat begins to crumble.
- Remove meat mixture from skillet and return to mixing bowl. Chop reserved apple flesh and add to bowl along with cooked rice and smoked paprika. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Place apples upright in a Dutch oven or large pot with lid. Spoon mixture into apples and ladle about a tablespoon of the chicken broth on top. Replace the apples' tops.
- In the bowl, combine diced tomatoes and green chilies along with remaining chicken stock. Bend well and add to pot. Cover.
- Prepare a grill for indirect cooking. Adjust heat to about 325°F (163°C). Place pot on the cool side of the grill and cook for about 45 minutes or until apples are semi-soft.
- Serve with a ladle of tomato-stock and remaining meat mixture on the side.