Baked Stuffed Onions
“A fragrant big stuffed onion is a most edible object all by itself…” Julia Child’s homage to the lowly onion from her 1993 classic The Way to Cook.
Julia Child was a consummate cook. Trained at Cordon Blu her heritage continues to instruct the art and style of great cuisine. Vegetarian cooks would do well to possess this book.
A saucepan of boiling water, for peeling
A large kettle of boiling salted water, for blanching
6 large firm fresh onions at least 3 inches in diameter
Melted butter (substitute soy spread)and or oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups stuffing (see recipe following)
2 Tbls fresh crumbs from homemade style white bread
1/2 cup dry white French vermouth or dry white wine
1/2 to 1 cup beef stock or chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
Peeling, coring, and blanching the onions. One at a time, shave off the pointed and root ends of the onions, being careful to keep the onion layers attached at the root. For easy peeling drop them one of two at a time for exactly 1 minute into the saucepan of boiling water: carefully remove the skin. With a sharp knife, cut a cone-shaped core out of the top (not root) end of the onion, and reserve all cuttings. Then, being careful not to make the sides and bottom too thin – they should be about 3/8 inch thick – use a melon baller to dig circular sections out of the onion to form a cup of the interior. Drop the onion cups into the kettle of boiling salted water and boil slowly 10 to 15 minutes; they should be just tender but they must hold their shape. Drain upside down in a colander.
Stuffing the onions. Butter or oil the outside of the onion cups and arrange cup side up in a heavily buttered flameproof baking dish about 3 inches deep and just large enough to hold them in one layer. Season the inside of the cups lightly with salt and pepper, and fill with the stuffing, heaping it into a 1/2-inch dome. Top with a teaspoon of bread crumbs and a drizzle of melted butter. Pour the wine around the onions and enough broth to come a third of the way up.
Baking – about 1 1/2 hours at 375 degrees F.
Bring to the simmer on top of the stove. Bake uncovered in the lower middle level of the preheated oven, maintaining the liquid at a slow simmer and basting the onions several times with the liquid in the dish. They are done when a knife pierces them easily, but they must keep their shape. (The outside layer will be slightly tough, but the insides deliciously tender.)
An Onion Stuffing
1 cup or so of minced onions
Butter (soy spread) as needed
1 cup of cooked rice
1/4 Cup heavy cream ( 2 Tbls soy sour cream and 2 Tbls soy cream cheese)
3 to 4 Tbls grated Swiss cheese (or soy Swiss)
2 to 4 Tbls fresh crumbs from nonsweet homemade type white bread
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Fresh or dried tarragon, or fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook the minced onions slowly in 2 tablespoons of butter in a covered pan until very tender; uncover the pan and stir over moderately high heat to brown very lightly. Blend in the rice, sour cream, cream cheese, Swiss cheese and 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, adding a few more crumbs if the mixture is too soft for easy stuffing. Stir in the parsley and other herb; season carefully to taste.