Stuffed Onions

Most firm vegetables that are large enough to form a pocket can be stuffed. Onions need to be pre-cooked and then separated into the component concentric leaves to form the required pockets. Stuffed onions are very popular in Israel. This recipe has a carmelized sauce that enhances the sweetness of the onions. It can be made all year long because good onions are always available, unlike stuffed tomatoes or zucchini which are more seasonal. Such dishes can either be served in small portions as an appetizer or with several other dishes as a main course. I like to serve stuffed onions and roast chicken together as main dishes to offer the complementary flavors and a choice of entrée.


Yield: 8-10 servings

Peel the onions. Cut off about 1/8 inch at each end. Cook the onions in a large glass bowl in the microwave until they are slightly soft, about 8 minutes. This varies with the size of onion and the power of the microwave, so test the onions periodically with a fork. The onions should be just soft enough to insert the fork. Do not cook them to translucence.

In a large bowl thoroughly mix the meat, rice, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Separate the onion layers and place the meat filling in each. Don't worry about sealing the edges; you just need to keep the filling inside the onion. Typically in Israel, less meat is used, and the ends are sealed, but it works just as well to have the filling visible. Any extra filling can be cooked in the same pan, as meatballs, with the onions.

In a 10 " frying pan with a lid, carefully melt the sugar to a caramel color; remove it from the flame and let cool slightly. Place the onions over the sugar, closely packed in one layer. Dissolve the soup powder in about a cup of water. Add this, the lemon juice, and enough extra water to come almost to the tops of the onions. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed.

If you want to serve this as a single unit on a large circular plate, you can invert it onto this plate, but it is easier and less messy to just serve from the frying pan onto whatever serving dish you are using.

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