A Catalan combination of flavours: the sweetness of the onion balanced by the slight bitterness of the saffron. Choose the largest, firmest onions you can find. If you have any spare rice, use it to stuff other vegetables, such as peppers or hollowed-out, parboiled potatoes.
Baked Onions Stuffed with Saffron Rice
- 4 large brown onions
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp diced prosciutto or pine nuts
- 100g risotto rice
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 6-8 saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbsp boiling water
- ½ tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 150ml dry white wine
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the onions (unpeeled). They must be submerged. Return to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the onions, saving the water. Peel when cool enough to handle. Slice off the tops and trim the bases flat. With a small knife, remove the heart of each onion, leaving 2-3 layers of onion to form a cup. Chop the scooped-out onion. You'll need half of it - freeze the rest for other dishes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a deep pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and prosciutto or pine nuts. Fry for 2 minutes or till the onion begins to colour. Add the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the raisins, saffron and water, lemon zest and 300ml of the onion water. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid but is still al dente. Season with salt and pepper. Cool a little, then mix in the egg. Spoon into the onions.
- Heat a baking dish with 1 tbsp oil. Add the onions. Bake for 10 minutes. Add the wine and enough of the onion water to come half-way up the onions. Cover with foil. Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until tender. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes, and baste the onions with the juices.
- Serve the onions (leaving the excess liquid behind), with shredded greens.
A broad, Sémillon-based wine with a hint of oak works brilliantly with sweet onion.
- Preparation time: 25 minutes
- Cooking time: 90 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Typical values per serving:
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This recipe was first published in January 2006.