- 4 medium baking apples
- 4 small onions, peeled
- 1 pound loose pork sausage
- ¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon mace
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Using a sharp knife, cut a 2-inch wide core from all the apples and onions. Reserve the onion cores for another use. Rub the apple cores on a box grater to remove as much flesh as possible until hitting seeds. Discard cores.
Make the stuffing by combining grated apple, sausage, breadcrumbs, egg, walnuts, sage, fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon salt, mace, and pepper. Push 2-3 tablespoons of stuffing mixture into every onion and apple, packing it tightly and mounding it at the top. Roll any extra stuffing into 1 ½-inch balls.
Liberally butter a ceramic baking dish large enough to hold the apples, onions and stuffing balls in a snug configuration. Rub the outside of each apple and each onion with butter and arrange them and the stuffing balls in the baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
In a small saucepan, add 2 tablespoons butter, maple syrup, cider, ½ teaspoon salt, and bourbon and cayenne if using. Place over low heat and stir until butter is melted.
Remove foil from baking dish, drizzle maple sauce over apples and onions. Bake until the stuffing is cooked through (165 degrees) and apples and onions can be pierced easily with a fork but are still holding their shape (about 20-25 minutes more).