This Moroccan-inspired recipe is one of those dishes where less is more: a sweet onion stuffed with just cinnamon- and cumin-scented ground lamb and plump apricots. While you may be tempted to put your whole spice cabinet in the lamb filling, the simple duo of cinnamon and cumin does the trick. The fruit plays off the rich gaminess of the lamb and the spices add a subtle background flavor to tie it all together.
This stuffed onion is perfect for a weeknight dinner with a green salad and steamed basmati rice, or elegant enough to make as a starter for a dinner party. The best part is that you can do this all ahead of time and just pop the stuffed onions in the oven before dinner.–Michael Schwartz
LC Less is More Note
Schwartz is right. Less IS more when it comes to this Moroccany oniony lamby situation, not just in terms of its spices but its sidekicks, too. Those times when you find yourself in a particularly lazy cooking mood or an exceptionally harried situation, we see the need for nothing else on the plate, aside from maybe some fragrant rice–takeout rice, if you must.
Roasted Sweet Onions Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 1 H, 35 M
- Serves 4
- 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dried apricots (about 16), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, preferably organic
- 4 smallish Vidalia or other sweet onions (about 3 pounds), unpeeled
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 or 4 shakes store-bought or homemade hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- 2. In a small pot over medium heat, combine the stock, apricots, and lemon zest. Gently simmer until the apricots are plump and the liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup, roughly 10 minutes.
- 3. Without peeling the onions, cut about 1 inch off the tops and just enough off the bottoms that each onion stands upright. Reserve the onion tops and discard the bottoms. Remove all but the outer two layers of each onion by scooping out the centers with a spoon or melon baller, reserving the insides. Set the onion shells in a baking dish along with the tops. Finely chop the insides.
- 4. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in almost all of the chopped onions, reserving some for another use, and cook until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the lamb, cinnamon, and cumin and season with the salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, continually stirring with a wooden spoon, until the lamb is crumbly, 7 to 8 minutes. Do not drain the rendered fat; it’s needed to keep the onions moist and to impart a luscious unctuousness to the overall dish. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the apricot mixture and its liquid, hot sauce to taste, and the parsley and mint. Let cool slightly. (The lamb filling can easily be prepared a day in advance, covered, and refrigerated.)
- 5. Spoon some of the lamb mixture into each of the hollowed-out onions, pressing down with your hands and mounding it over the onions. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the onions and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake until tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bread crumbs are brown, about 10 minutes more. Serve immediately.
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Roasted Sweet Onions Recipe © 2011 Michael Schwartz. Photo © 2011 Ben Fink. All rights reserved.
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