Friday, August 01, 2008

Favorite Shabbat Dinner

Every Friday night I cook an especially good dinner. Sometimes it's a nice fish or roast chicken, but my favorite are stuffed onions. They take a little work, but are absolutely super.

Ingredients:

3 or 4 very large sweet onions
3/4 lb ground lamb
2 fresh tomatoes diced
1/2 cup long grain rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tbs chopped parsley
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Place unpeeled onions in a large pot and cover with water. Put the pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the onions for 30 minutes. Remove onions from water and set aside to cool until they can be handled.

Drain the rice.

In a large mixing bowl, combine lamb, tomatoes, cinnamon, allspice, rice, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well with your hands.

Cut the root and stem ends off the unpeeled onions. Cut a slit the radius of each onion. That is, cut the onion from the outside to the center. Remove the peel and as many layers you need to to get to a layer that is edible and discard. Take off each layer of the onion as you can; you should get four or five good petals per onion. They will curl up on themselves. Set aside and repeat for each onion. Save the onion core for another dish.

Now stuff the onions. Handling the onion petals carefully so as not to tear them, place a few tablespoons to a half cup of the meat mixture into each petal and roll it up so it looks like a fat sausage. The amount used will depend on the size of the petal, but the onion should roll up somewhat on itself. Repeat until all stuffing is used.

Heat olive oil in a large lidded pan until it shimmers over medium heat. Place the onions seam side down into the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Serve four people with a green salad and chewy bread for dipping in the sauce.
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