Sausage & Maple Stuffed Tomatoes

I love stuffed tomatoes, they are hearty and satisfying like a whole meal unto themselves.  I also like the fact that I can assemble them ahead of time and pull them out a half hour to hour ahead before I want to bake them which  lets me pre-plan.  Here I wanted to come up with a rendition for breakfast since every stuffed tomato recipe I have ever seen is for lunch or dinner.  I immediately knew maple syrup (I prefer Burton's) had to be in this and sage, the rest was easy - blended with country-blend sausage and toasted bread crumbs.

I bake these covered with aluminum foil 2/3 of the way then remove the foil to finish them off and brown.  This lets them steam cook and not get overly browned and tough on top yet undercooked inside.  I served them with poached eggs in 6.5" Lodge cast iron pans.  Eeezy Peezy!

6-8 tomatoes - prepped (see below)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
7-8 oz. button mushroom, diced
1 lb. country-blend sausage, not Italian seasoned
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups toasted bread crumbs
2 tbsp. sage
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a skillet over medium heat, add sausage and cook until no longer pink.  Remove sausage with slotted spoon and and add onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent, roughly 4-5 minutes.  Add chopped mushrooms and olive oil, then cook until the have released their moisture, roughly ten minutes.

Mix sausage, onions, garlic and mushrooms together in a bowl.  Add maple syrup, bread crumbs sage and cheese, salt and pepper to taste - set aside.

Core tomatoes and using a melon baller, scoop out insides.  Sprinkle salt on the inside of each tomato and set upside down on a cooling rack set over a sink or sheet pan to catch the juice.  Let them sit upside down for a half hour.

Using your hands, evenly divide the filling between the tomatoes gently pushing the filling in to pack it and pressing a roughly 1/4 cup mound on top of the tomato.  Place into a baking sheet and repeat with each tomato until they are all done.

Cover with aluminum foil and place into refrigerator until ready or into a 375 oven and bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Serve.

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