Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lebanese Stuffed Onions

Yesterday my partner in crime and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary, it was a quiet and cozy night and I made this recipe to warm our tummies (Steamy Kitchen blog is one of my favorites).  The real celebration is happening this weekend, Friday we are headed to Astoria, OR to stay in an adorable Airbnb right on the bay.  It is a private apartment with a wall of windows facing the bay, a wood stove, and an awesome old antique wooden bed.  We plan to eat at all the local spots and do some touring including going to the Goonie's house.  Not sure how safe it will be to go down on the beach with all the storming that the NW is doing right now...but we will see.  I will definitely have to eat some oyster shooters but unfortunately my boyfriend is not a fan, so I will be doing this alone.  In other news who has heard of The Portland Kitchen?  It is an amazing non-profit  that offers free, comprehensive culinary after-school and summer programming to Portland high school youth, age 14-18.  Somehow I just learned about this place and am going to start volunteering there in January, definitely check it out and give a donation if you are feeling the holiday spirit!

Serving 10 stuffed onions

The Ingredients

2 extra-large onions (or 3 large onions)

1 cup white rice

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (reserve some for garnish)

1 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 pinches of brown sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

The Process

1.  The first step is to soak your rice in a bowl cool water. The rice will absorb some of the water -- we'll drain off the water in a later step.

2.  Fill a pot with water (enough to cover a whole onion by 1" and bring to a boil. Cut off the very top and bottom of each onion. Make a cut down one side of each of the onions, cutting into the center from top to bottom. This helps the onion layers cook evenly and make it easier to peel. Add the onions, and let them cook for 10 minutes or until the layers soften and separate easily.

3.  Drain the rice completely. In a large mixing bowl, add the drained rice, tomato paste, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cilantro or parsley and ground meat. Mix well.

4.  When the onions have finished cooking, remove and drain from the boiling water. Let cool and separate out the layers individually and place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling, wrap onion around filling, but not too tightly to allow rice to expand during cooking.

5.  In a large, oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat, swirl in the olive oil. When pan is hot, place the onions seam-side down. Let cook for 2 minutes until the bottoms have browned slightly.

6.  Add vinegar to the pan and sprinkle the tops of the onions with sugar. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes or until the meat and rice are fully cooked, rotating the onions halfway during cooking.

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