Friday, March 24, 2006

Stuff the onion: baked red onions with feta cheese & wild mushrooms

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)
Serves 4

500 grams red onions (about 9-10)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp water

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
onion cuttings
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.


Anne said...

THANK you Pille - guess what we'll be having for dinner? This and a big, juicy steak.. yum. :)

Alanna Kellogg said...


Anonymous said...

Great idea Pille! Looks delicious. I also always wanted to make some, and should definitely now!! Lovely!

Kalyn Denny said...

OMG, Yum. They look just fantastic.

Ilva said...

Looks and sounds really good! Maybe this weekend...

Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious!

Anonymous said...

Mmm, I will put this on my to cook list :-) Sounds yummy!

T. Carter said...

Oh, I'm definately trying this one ... thanks!

Anonymous said...

What a great appetizer Pille!Congratulations

Anonymous said...

Oh Pille!

These look fantastic! We love red onions (cooked and raw in salad). I will definitely give this a try.

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

x said...

Pille, this looks amazing! I've never had stuffed onions -weird if you think i am vegetarian- and this looks inviting. Thanks.

Gracianne said...

They look delicious Pille, I'll think about this when I have my vegetarian friends for dinner.

Anonymous said...

Ever since reading Nicky & Oliver's red baby onion post, I've been looking for the baby onions but can't find it. I'm adding your recipe to my list of foods to try. Looks great!


Pille said...

Anne - hope you'll get a chance to make a version of these some other time - they'd be great with your steak!

AK - thank you! I was hoping that our Veggie Goddess would approve:)

Bea - I still have to work a little on the visual aspect (the dark bits are NOT burnt onion, but black chantarelles!), but it's a pretty festive dish as it is, so I'm pleased..

Kalyn - thank you! Would they pass your strict South Beach Diet test?

Ilva - do you have black trumpet chantarelles in Italy? I'm sure you'd make a great Ilva-version of this dish! The original used reconstituted porcini mushrooms..

Rorie - thank you!

Dagmar - it was lovely. And in Sweden you have plenty of trattkantareller, so you can even use the same mushrooms!

T.Carter - I'm pleased I continue to tiltillate your tastebuds! Maybe you can prepare these to welcome E. back home? :)

Tülin - thank you for your kind words! I think it would go rather nicely with all those Greek and Turkish appetisers that you keep making:)

Ivonne - please let me know what you thought of it! And if you love red onions, you should also give the upside down red onion pie a try!

Chloe - thank you! It was my first time to have stuffed onions as well:) I'm sure you'll like it, especially as they are a bit Greek..

Gracianne - this would make a delicious starter for a dinner! BTW- the April 2006 issue if Food&Travel has Paul Gayler's original recipe as well, if you want a slightly fancier version.

Paz - that red baby onion post was amazing, wasn't it!? I haven't seen baby onions like that either, but as soon as I do, I'll give Nicky & Oliver's recipe a go!