Encouraged by my delicious upside down red onion pie, seriously inspired by Nicky&Oliver's delectable braised red baby onions, loosely based on Paul Gayler's recipe for Greek stuffed onions in a feta cheese custard - here is a dish I came up with earlier this week, and will surely keep making in the future.
Paul Gayler is a chef known for his inspiring vegetarian dishes over at the Lanesborough Hotel in London. He has just published his third book on vegetarian food, Pure Vegetarian and some sample recipes were reprinted in Scotsman on Sunday in early March. I simplified the recipe considerably, skipping the feta cheese custard, using tomato puré instead of sunblush tomatoes, replacing dried porcini with some leftover black trumpet chantarelles and omitting the egg and cinnamon from the filling. Gayler introduces his recipe as 'a type of modern-day vegetarian moussaka', but due to the lack of custard my baked onions wouldn't fit this description. However, the result was delicious, savoury and strong-flavoured - lovely on its own with a slice of crusty bread. I can also imagine serving this as part of a buffet or as a side dish to some grilled or braised meat.
Baked red onions stuffed with feta cheese & wild mushrooms
(Fetajuustu ja metsaseentega täidetud punased sibulad)
500 grams red onions (about 9-10)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp water
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 fat garlic clove
150 grams wild mushrooms, chopped
2 Tbsp concentrated tomato puré
100 grams feta cheese
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Remove the stringy outer layers of the onions, then cut off a very thin slice from the root end - just enough to enable onions to 'stand' upright. Cut a generous slice off the top of each onion, then place them in a baking tin. Drizzle with some water and olive oil, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 200˚C oven for about an hour, until onions are tender.
For the stuffing, heat the oil, add the chopped onion tops and fry for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and fry gently for another 5 minutes.
Add the chopped wild mushrooms, fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomato puré, stir to combine.
Add the crumbled feta cheese and pinenuts, stir until combined, then season with parsley, salt and pepper.
Very carefully remove the centres of baked onions (I used the tiniest teaspoon for that). Make sure to keep the onion bases intact, but there is no need to despair if you fail - just use removed onion layers to cover the hole.
(If you wish, you can chop up the removed layers and add to the stuffing. If you manage to remove some nice intact layers, you can use these for stuffing as well. I started with 9 onions, but ended up with 13 stuffed ones:)
Fill onions with the stuffing, put into a baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 200˚C for about 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes or so to brown the onions nicely.
Allow to cool slighly and serve.
UPDATE: T. Carter @ Lifechanges ... Delayed tried this recipe as well.