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Appealing onions lend layers of flavour to condiments, biscuits or side dishes

06/11/2012 04:07 EDT | Updated 08/11/2012 05:12 EDT
Amazing onions provide plenty of flavour and texture through their many layers. Here are some tasty recipes using the pungent root vegetable.

Mushroom-And-Herb-Stuffed Onions

Onions stuffed with mushrooms are an interesting reversal of stuffed mushroom caps. Cooking sweetens the flavour of onions and softens the texture. These are a real treat served with sausages or pork chops.

6 large cooking onions

3 slices bacon, chopped

250 g (1/2 lb) mushrooms, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley

10 ml (2 tsp) dried thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

175 ml (3/4 cup) beef stock

15 ml (1 tbsp) white wine vinegar

Heat oven to 190 C (375 F).

Peel onions and trim but do not cut off root ends; cut off tops to create wide opening. Using spoon or melon baller, scoop out onion, leaving shell about 2 onion layers thick. Finely chop some of the scooped-out onion to equal 175 ml (3/4 cup). Refrigerate or freeze remaining onion for another use.

In a large Dutch oven of boiling water, cook onion shells for 5 minutes; drain with tops down on paper towel.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook bacon and chopped onions over medium heat until onion begins to soften. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, parsley and thyme; cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Place onions upright in casserole just large enough to hold them snugly. Stuff onions with mushroom filling. Combine beef stock with vinegar; pour around onions. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Baste with pan juices; cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes more or until onions are tender.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Foodland Ontario.

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Seeded Onion Biscuits

These savoury biscuits are tasty and good for you but are definitely best served fresh and hot from the oven. When they cool they tend to harden and the onions on top get some added bite.

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) whole-wheat flour

5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder

3 ml (3/4 tsp) salt

250 ml (1 cup) finely chopped onions, divided

45 ml (3 tbsp) chilled butter, sliced thinly

125 ml (1/2 cup) skim milk (approx)

15 ml (1 tbsp) sesame or sunflower seeds OR 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) poppy or caraway seeds

Heat oven to 230 C (450 F).

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and butter. Beat until mixture has a fine, crumbly texture.

Lightly beat in 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the onions and enough milk (125 ml/1/2 cup, more or less) to make a soft dough. Do not overbeat or the biscuits will become tough.

Turn dough onto lightly floured board and gently pat into an 18-cm (7-inch) square. Cut into 9 equal squares. Sprinkle with remaining 125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped onions and choice of seeds. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until done. Serve immediately.

Makes 9 biscuits.

Source: U.S. National Onion Association.

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Asian Plum-Onion Chutney

Onions and fruit combine in this Asian-inspired condiment that is a great complement for meats, especially ham.

750 ml (3 cups) chopped yellow onions (2 to 3 medium onions)

750 ml (3 cups) chopped red onions (2 to 3 medium onions)

2 l (8 cups) fresh plums (1.4 to 1.6 kg/3 to 3 1/2 lb), cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch) cubes

250 ml (1 cup) golden raisins

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped candied ginger

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) brown sugar, packed

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) cider vinegar

175 ml (3/4 cup) hoisin sauce

15 ml (1 tbsp) mustard seed

10 ml (2 tsp) salt

In a large kettle, combine all ingredients. Cover and bring to boil. Uncover and boil gently for 30 minutes or until thickened and glossy, stirring occasionally. Pour hot chutney into sterilized jars and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or can using water bath or pressure canning method for longer storage.

Makes about 2.75 l (11 1/2 cups).

Source: U.S. National Onion Association.

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Braised Onions

While not caramelized in the traditional sense (browned), these braised onions are easy to do with minimal stirring and are endlessly useful for spreading on flatbread or pizza, adding to a sandwich or tossing with pasta.

3 to 4 medium cooking onions (about 500 g/1 lb), thinly sliced with a mandolin or sharp knife

10 ml (2 tsp) sugar

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

Salt and pepper

Pinch of crumbled rosemary or thyme or splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)

In a medium (1.5- to 2-l/6- to 8-cup) round microwaveable dish, combine onions, sugar and oil. Cover and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes (stirring after 5 minutes) until very soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper and, if desired, add one of the optional flavourings. (This was tested in a 1200-watt oven.)

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Home economist Barb Holland.

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