Regular readers may recall that I was given a box of onions by a friend who had them left over from a fundraising event. I made a delicious Caramelised Onion Tart as well as freezing many bags of sliced onions for future use. But still they kept giving…
I’m not complaining about having so many onions. I’m just worried that I may not get to use them all before they’re past their prime. The hot, damp weather of recent weeks is the enemy of the onion, that likes a cool, dry, dark environment.
Coincidentally, in early January I heard a short piece on the BBC World Service about the UN Table of World Onion Consumption. Yes, that’s a thing. Various journalists who worked for the BBC talked about onions in their cooking and culture. An Uzbek correspondent shared an old saying that ‘If you don’t put an onion in your meal, the Devil will touch it.’ You can listen to the podcast here: Onions: Unsung Kitchen Heroes
Some countries eat over 30kg of onions per person per year. Clearly, I wasn’t holding up my end. So I had to pull out the big guns. I deferred to someone who really knows their onions. He even has a chapter in his book called ‘Funny Onions’. I refer of course to Yotam Ottolenghi, the patron saint of vegetable dishes. I probably wouldn’t have given this recipe a second glance if it wasn’t for all of the onions but I’m glad I did. It’s remarkably simple and can really be stuffed with whatever you have to hand. I made this dish for a dinner with friends, pre-baking it in the afternoon and then just warming it in the evening. The unused centres of the onions didn’t go to waste and were put into another dish that we also enjoyed at dinner. This recipe is taken from ‘Plenty. Let me tell you, there are plenty more onions where those came from.
Baked Stuffed Onions
- 4 large onions, peeled
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 300ml white wine
- 3 small tomatoes
- 120g fresh breadcrumbs
- 90g feta, crumbled
- 80g parsley, finely chopped
- tbsp olive oil + extra to finish
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 tsp salt
- black pepper to season
- butter to grease the dish
- Trim ends from onions and slice lengthwise. Carefully remove two or three outer layers from the onions, separating layers. Set aside and repeat with remaining onions. Retain inner onions for another dish.
- Place the stock and wine in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and place three or four pieces of onion in liquid and simmer for a few minutes until just tender.
- Remove onions layers, drain and set aside to cool. Repeat with remaining onions layers. Keep stock.
- To make the stuffing place breadcrumbs, feta, chopped parsley, olive oil, crushed garlic and spring onions into a large bowl. Grate tomatoes into mixture with a box grater. You will be left with most of the tomato skin in your hand (discard the skin). Add salt and season with pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Fill each onion layer with a generous amount of filling and roll into a cigar shape. Place the stuffed onions into a greased baking dish with the seam side down, in a single layer if possible.
- When all onions have been stuffed and placed in greased dish, pour approximately 75ml of stock into the base of the dish, so it is just covering the bottom.
- Bake at 180c for 45 – 50 minutes or until the onions are soft and browned and the filling is bubbling. Some onions will darken more than others, so you may need to rotate the dish halfway through. You may also need to top up the stock if it has evaporated.
- Serve warm drizzled with olive oil or, for a non traditional touch, a couple of spoons of sour cream.
Serves 4 as an entrée
Don’t forget you can find all of my Ottolenghi recipes in one location by clicking on the tab at the top of the blog ‘The Ottolenghi Files‘.