Roasted Onions Stuffed with Lentils, Feta and Prunes
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We love this Afghan recipe. Our vegetarian version swaps out the traditional ground lamb for lentils, and we serve it both as a main course and as part of a meze platter with hummus and a variety of salads. There is something incredibly satisfying about the way the softened onion naturally curls around the cinnamon-scented filling, sealing it in and creating a perfect torpedo-shaped package.
-- Kate & Guy, Onions Etcetera The Essential Allium Cookbook
3 large sweet onions
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 plump garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup cooked white rice
6 prunes, chopped
1/2 cup finely crumbled feta
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
Bring a pot of water to a boil. As you wait for the water to boil, peel the onions and trim the root end. Cut each onion lengthwise to its center—as if you were cutting the onion in half, but stopping halfway through. This will make it easy to separate the layers once the onions are boiled. Place the trimmed onions into the gently boiling water and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a large bowl filled with cold water. Let the onions cool in the water for a few minutes. To keep from burning your fingertips, work under the water to gently separate the softened outer layers of each onion, about 4 or 5 per onion, until you get to the stiffer middle section. Put the onion layers in a sieve to dry.
When the middle sections are cool enough to handle, remove them from the water and finely chop them.
Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a casserole dish.
Combine the chopped onions, garlic and olive oil in a small skillet over moderate heat and cook, stirring from time to time, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and scrape into a bowl. Add the lentils, rice, prunes, feta and 2 tablespoons parsley. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper and stir everything together. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Take 1 onion layer in the palm of your hand and fill with a heaping spoonful of stuffing. Roll the onion layer around the stuffing into a neat torpedo shape and arrange seam side down in the oiled dish. Continue with the remaining onion layers and filling, arranging them snugly in the dish. Pour ¼ cup water around the stuffed onions, then drizzle the onions with olive oil and season the tops with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the onions are tender and juicy, about 45 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and turn on the broiler. Take off the foil and baste the onions with some of the liquid that has collected in the bottom of the dish. Broil the onions until lightly browned, a matter of a few minutes, then serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with some chopped parsley.
Serves 4 to 6
Excerpted from Onions Etcetera by Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino. Copyright © 2017 Burgess Lea Press. Photography copyright © 2017 Guy Ambrosino. Published by Burgess Lea Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.