- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 40g unsalted butter, plus extra for frying
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 80g cooked and peeled chestnuts
- 4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley,
- A few fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 10 fresh sage leaves, finely shredded
- Good grating of nutmeg
- Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
- 8 eating apples (such as English braeburn)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Heat the oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan over a low heat, then add the onion and soften for 10 minutes. Roughly chop the chestnuts, then place in a bowl along with the breadcrumbs, herbs, nutmeg and lemon zest. Add the onion to the bowl along with some seasoning and the butter from the pan. Mix until well combined.
- Carefully core each apple and score a line around the middle (to prevent the skin splitting). Spoon stuffing into each cavity, piling it up slightly, then place the apples in a lightly greased baking tin.
- Top each apple with a little of the butter, then bake for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and serve.
- Keep the prepared stuffing in a freezer bag or sealable container for up to 3 days in the fridge. On Christmas morning, assemble and stuff the apples, cover loosely with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place (outside if there’s no space elsewhere) until ready to cook. Or, freeze the stuffing (without the herbs) in a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Defrost at room temperature overnight, add the herbs and continue with step 2.