Baked Stuffed Onions
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Almost everyone uses onions as seasoning, but in this recipe we've used them as a vegetable. With a delicious meat stuffing that enhances their delicate sweet flavor, they take the spotlight as a beautiful dish in their own right.
5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Pork & Veal Magic® OR
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1½ teaspoons dried sweet basil leaves
1½ teaspoons dried thyme leaves
6 large or 8 medium onions
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1¼ cups chopped onions, in all
½ cup chopped green bell peppers
¼ cup chopped celery
½ pound ground lean pork
½ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
¾ cup uncooked converted rice
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
2 cups pork or chicken stock, in all
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
how to prepare
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl to make the Seasoning Mix. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture if you are using 6 onions, or 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons for 8 onions.
Peel the onions and cut a thin slice off the top of each so they will stand without tipping. Turn each onion over and scoop out the insides with a melon baller, leaving a shell about ½ inch thick. Cut a very thin slice off each of the 4 sides of each onion to keep them from rolling in the skillet, so they will brown evenly.
Toast the pecans in a dry 10-inch skillet over medium heat, flipping and shaking or stirring them until they are lightly roasted, about 3 minutes. Remove the pecans from the skillet and set them aside.
Wipe the skillet clean, return it to high heat, and add the butter. When the butter sizzles, add the onion cups, laying them on their sides, and cook, turning occasionally, until they are browned on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove the onion cups and set aside.
To the skillet add ¾ cup of the chopped onions, all the peppers and celery, and cook until they are browned, about 4 minutes. Add the pork and garlic and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a spoon, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix and the remaining ½ cup chopped onions, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and the remaining seasoning mix and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute, scraping as the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet. Stir in 1¼ cups stock and cook until it is reduced and the mixture forms a crust on the bottom of the skillet, about 8 minutes. Add the evaporated milk and pecans, and scrape the skillet. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, and remove from the heat. Let sit, covered, for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375º. Sprinkle each onion cup all over with 1 teaspoon of the reserved seasoning mix, rubbing the mixture inside and out. Place the onions, open ends up, in a pan just large enough to hold them. Fill them with the pork/rice mixture, heaping it up as much as possible, and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Pour the remaining ¾ cup stock into the bottom of the pan, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven up to 550º and bake another 10 minutes, or until brown and bubbly on top. Serve with a little sauce from the pan spooned over each onion.