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)
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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. More Christmas recipesChristmas puddingMake-ahead recipesChristmas bakingVegetarian Christmas recipes