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Apple Sausage Dumplings

December 12, 2010

Keeping in touch with friends after college can be quite challenging, especially when people move and start having children. Since our closest friends all happen to live within an hour or so of where we are, and since they all happen to be foodies as well, we decided to make a purposeful, food-centered get-together to catch up. We based our food gathering on Iron Chef America. Thus, was born our own Iron Chef Challenge. Our rules were as follows.

1. Pick a “secret” ingredient: Since we all live in apartments, getting a secret ingredient on the spot was going to be impossible (Can you imagine 5 people trying to cook in one tiny postage stamp-sized kitchen?! Yikes!), so instead we opted to jointly decide on a seasonal ingredient that could be used to create one savory and one sweet dish. Our chosen ingredient: apple!

2. Recipe creativity: We decided that creating your own recipe was not required. We could draw inspiration from other places, however, there must be at least three things that you had changed in the recipe (i.e. ingredients, methods of cooking, etc.) to make it your own.

3. Cook ahead: Everyone was encouraged to prepare their dishes ahead of time, although our hostess’ oven and stove top were available for re-heating/last minute prep needs.

4. Plating: Each person had to bring their own plates for presenting their dish, as we did not want to overwhelm our hostess with our plating needs.  Plastic utensils and paper plates were available for tasting all the dishes.

5. Judging: All dishes were judged according to official Iron Chef America rules: 10 points possible for taste, 5 for plating, and 5 for creativity/originality.

For Battle Apple (as we named our challenge), I decided to alter a dessert recipe that I had gotten from my mom for my sweet dish (look for this recipe later this week), but I struggled with the savory dish, until one day when I mentioned our upcoming challenge to my mother-in-law. She used to work in the bake shop at an apple farm and told me about the apple dumplings they used to make. While I didn’t need a sweet dish, it did get me to think about what I could possibly do. I thought about what goes well with apple, and then it hit me! I could put sausage and blue cheese together and bake the apple in phyllo dough. The saltiness of the sausage goes well with the tartness of the apple, and I love the crunch of the baked phyllo dough. I ended up serving the blue cheese on the side so that it didn’t melt out of the apple (and I know not everyone is as big of a fan of blue cheese as Will and I are). Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Apple Sausage Dumpling

Ingredients:

2 Granny Smith apples, halved with shallow bowl carved out

4 Italian sausage balls, cooked

8 sheets of phyllo dough, cut in half

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

8 slices of blue cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place halved apple on two-sheets of phyllo dough. Set sausage inside apple. Wrap phyllo dough up around apple. Brush phyllo dough with melted butter and set on a cooking sheet. Repeat with remaining apple halves.  Place cooking sheet in oven and cook until phyllo dough becomes browned, approximately 10 minutes. Serve immediately with slices of blue cheese, and enjoy!


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