Three Raleigh residents take top honors in apple recipe contest at the State Fair

Jill Mills’ Country Apple-Sausage Pie won first place in the N.C. Apple Growers Association Apple Recipe Contest. Mills, of Raleigh, received $200 for her winning entry.

Alice Spickard of Raleigh placed second and won $150 with her Roasted Apple Chicken Salad, and Felice Bogus, also of Raleigh, took third place and $75 for her Smoky Acorn-Apple Soup.

Recipes were judged based on taste, appearance and creative use of apples in the recipe.

Following is the winning recipe:

Country Apple-Sausage Pie

1 pound loose pork sausage
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion
1 teaspoon Accent
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
½ cup nuts
2 cups diced North Carolina apples
2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
9-inch unbaked pie crust

Brown sausage, celery and onion, then drain. Add remaining ingredients and pour into pie crust. Cover with foil and bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let pie stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Second Place: Roasted Apple Chicken Salad
Alice Spickard of Raleigh

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 medium to large crisp or tart apples*, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks (leave peel on)
  • 10 oz. bag baby spinach
  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken, such as rotisserie chicken
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked, drained of grease and crumbled
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup toasted pecan pieces
  • Poppyseed Dressing (your favorite kind, or recipe as follows)

*you can use any N.C. apple (except Red Delicious, which do not roast as well). You want approximately 3 cups apple chunks.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roasting the apples: spray a 9 X 13 or larger baking dish with cooking spray.  Place apple chunks in a single layer in a baking dish, and roast apples in preheated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Assemble the salad: combine spinach, chicken, roasted apples, crumbled bacon, green onions, feta and pecans in a large bowl.  Add desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. Makes 4-6 servings.

Poppyseed Dressing

Whisk together:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. minced, grated onion

Third Place: Smoky Acorn-Apple Soup
Felice Bogus

For roasted squash

  • 4 (1- to 1 1/4-pound) acorn squash
  • 1 ½ Tbs. oil
  • ½ Tbs. kosher salt

For soup

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ lb. hot country sausage, crumbled
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 c. NC Macintosh apples, cut into ½-inch dice
  • ¾ c. apple cider
  • 4 ½ c. reduced sodium chicken broth
  • Reserved acorn squash flesh
  • ½ c. heavy cream
  • 1/3 c. shredded smoked Cheddar cheese
  • Chopped scallions, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Cut a large slice off the squash about 1-inch from the stem end, and reserve.  Clean out seeds.  Cut a thin slice off the bottoms to make an even base.  Brush bowls and tops with oil and sprinkle salt inside.  Place bowls and tops, stem side up, in a large baking pan.  Bake until flesh is tender, about 1 ¼ hr.  When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh, leaving a thick wall.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Sauté sausage until no longer pink, remove with a slotted spoon leaving fat behind, and reserve.  Add onion and apple and cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 8 minutes.  Add cider and cook until syrupy, about 3 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer until onion and apple are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Add reserved acorn squash flesh to soup and puree in batches in a blender.  Return to saucepan and stir in cream and sausage.  Add cheese and stir over medium heat until cheese is melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve soup in roasted acorn squash halves with tops alongside.  Garnish with chopped scallions.


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