Iranian Veal-Stuffed Apples


The recipes in "An Apple Harvest," by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva, reflect Frank's love of this fruit and its role in world cuisine. This recipe, from Iran, where it is said apples were first cultivated, is a wonderful combination of sweet and savory: veal-stuffed apples basted with cider vinegar and brown sugar.


  • 10 small to medium Rome Beauty, Jonagold, Stayman, Winesaps, or other good baking apples

  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons Clarified Butter

  • 2 small onions, finely chopped

  • 1 pound ground veal

  • 1 ⅓ cups water

  • 2 ½ tablespoons raw long-grain white rice

  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, plus more if needed

  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar, packed, plus more if needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a paring knife, cut a 1/2-inch slice off the stem end of each apple, reserving tops. With a melon baller or grapefruit spoon, scoop out the core from each apple, being careful not to pierce the blossom end, and discard. Continue to scoop out apple flesh to form a hollow cavity with sturdy sides, setting removed pulp aside. Sprinkle apple cavities with granulated sugar and set aside with tops.

  2. In a medium skillet, warm clarified butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add veal, and cook, breaking up meat with the spoon, until it is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water, rice, and cinnamon, and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

  3. Arrange apples in one layer in a baking dish. Divide veal mixture evenly among apple cavities. Replace tops. Pour remaining 1 cup water into baking dish. Surround apples with three-quarters of reserved apple pulp (reserve remaining pulp for another use). Cover with a lid or aluminum foil.

  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover. In a small bowl, stir together vinegar and brown sugar, pour over pulp and juices on bottom of pan, combining them, and then baste apples with this mixture. Continue to bake, uncovered, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 25 minutes more.

  5. Transfer to a warmed serving platter and keep warm. Pass pulp and liquid from bottom of pan through a sieve placed over a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until liquid coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning with cider vinegar and/or brown sugar to achieve a good sweet-sour balance. Spoon sauce over apples, and serve at once.

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