Vefa’s Meat-Stuffed Apples

These meat-stuffed apples (μηλα γεμισ με κιμα) were really rather a lot of trouble, but the result was unusual, filling, and quite tasty. In addition to the beef recipe used in the book, I made an altered, vegetarian version using just rice, currants, pine nuts, and herbs (plus added feta) as the filling for my partner.

Unfortunately, my apples exploded in the oven. Don’t worry – that might be a bit of an overstatement – I did not have to clean apple mush from the sides of my oven; but the final product was, sadly, not as photogenic as Ms. Alexiadou’s, which looked more like this. However, the taste was the same (I assume): basically, herb-infused beef with applesauce. I think next time I would just slice the apples and place them in the bottom of the pan, then pour the beef and rice mixture over the top and bake. It would be considerably easier. I would also double the herb and spice quantities called for; despite the inclusion of beef broth, onions, and nutmeg, the meat turned out a little bland for my tastes. However, I was able to repurpose the huge quantity of leftover, spiced beef (the recipe only calls for about 8 ounces, and I had a whole two pounds!); I’ll be posting my impromptu Mediterreanean Beef Casserole soon!

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