True confessions: I have become completely and utterly addicted to food porn. My magazine of choice: Food & Wine. It’s my dirty little secret. I wait with baited breath at the mailbox for the arrival of the newest issue and then spend hours oohing and ahh-ing and trying to keep my salivary glands in check. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all about the articles, really, it is, but when they published this recipe for Lamb and Spinach Stuffed Onions, I felt that I had glimpsed our future dinner table. I was right.
I’ll be honest, this was not the easiest recipe I’ve ever made, but, that said, it is also, hands down, one of the best. If you even have a passing interest in lamb, MAKE THIS RECIPE! Word to the wise: choose sweet onions that are taller. The squatty ones will fill your kitchen with profanity as you try to get them apart.
We served them with sautéed carrots with thyme and repurposed our leftover fava beans into a paste with garlic and olive oil and spread that on fresh soughdough bread from Arizmendi. Monica brought some amazing Folie a Deux Dry Creek Zinfandel as suggested by F&W, and there was much joy and happiness in our Sunday afternoon.
Check back soon for amazing appetizer suggestions …
Two unpeeled 1 1/2-pound sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, root ends trimmed
- Oil, for rubbing
- 5 ounces curly-leaf spinach, washed but not dried
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3/4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- PREPARE THE ONIONS Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the onions in a small baking dish, root ends down, and rub with oil. Add 1/2 inch of water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet. Add the spinach in batches, tossing until wilted. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the water. Coarsely chop the spinach.
- In the same skillet, cook the lamb over moderately high heat, breaking it up, until no pink remains, 3 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and add the ancho chile powder and cinnamon. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the spinach. Transfer the lamb filling to a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, Gruyère, 1/4 cup of the beef broth and 1/2 cup of the crushed tomatoes.
- Cut 1/2 inch off the top and bottom of the baked onions. Separate the layers, trying not to break them. You will need 10 onion cups: some large, some medium and 2 small. Finely chop enough of the onion scraps to make 1/2 cup; fold into the lamb filling and season with salt and pepper.
- Stand the onion cups in a buttered medium baking dish. Season the insides with salt and fill with the lamb.
- In a large skillet, combine the cream with the remaining 3/4 cup of beef broth and 1/2 cup of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Pour the sauce over and around the onions.
- MAKE THE TOPPING In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mound the topping on the onions. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until hot. Uncover and increase the oven temperature to 425°. Bake for 5 minutes, until the topping is crisp. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- 10 large carrots, peeled and chopped into discs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- Sourdough loaf, cut into crostini-sized pieces and lightly toasted
- Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet until shimmering
- Add carrots and thyme and sauté until carrots are tender (15-20 minutes)
- Season with salt and pepper
- Spread on crostini
- 2 cups of prepared fava beans
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- Puree fava beans, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor.
- Add water to desired consistency as needed
- If garlic is too strong, transfer to a small sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat with additional water until garlic has mellowed (about 5 minutes)
Do yourself a favor and have the Dry Creek Zin with this meal. It’s truly a perfect pairing.