Ottolenghi’s Stuffed Onions

January 5, 2011


Stuffed Onions

The second Ottolenghi book (Plenty), is just as beautiful as the first. All the recipes are veggie, which fits perfectly with my wishy washy intentions to eat hardly any meat in January. Apart from when I eat out, which is quite a lot. I ate chicken just last night for example and very delicious it was too.

Anyway, these stuffed onions are pretty amazing. Poached onion layers are filled with feta, herbs, spring onions and breadcrumbs. The latter provide substance and are gooey and swollen with flavour from the cooking stock. We ate some of them on their own with a salad then immediately ate the rest from the baking dish with our hands. The most unexpectedly rich and comforting dish I’ve eaten in a very long time.

Ottolenghi’s Stuffed Onions

(in theory, they could serve 4 but there’s no chance to be honest. Serves 2). I’ve also made his black pepper tofu from the same book.

500ml veg stock
350ml white wine
4 large onions
3 small tomatoes
120g white breadcrumbs
90g feta, crumbled
80g parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 spring onions, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Butter, for greasing the dish

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a baking dish with butter.

Combine the wine and stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. While this is happening, trim the top and bottom from the onions, cut them lengthways in half and remove the skin. Carefully remove most of the insides to leave 3 or 4 outer layers of onion. Carefully separate these. Turn the stock to a simmer and put the onion layers in it, a few at a time. Cook them for 3-4 minutes or until just tender then set aside. Keep the stock.

To make the stuffing, grate the tomatoes into a bowl using a coarse cheese grater. Most of the skin will be left behind in your hands and you can discard it. Add the feta, breadcrumbs, parsley, olive oil, spring onions, salt and some pepper. Mix well.

Fill each onion layer generously and roll into a ‘fat cigar shape’. Place fold side down in the dish. Pour over about 75ml of the stock. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until they are brown and charred in places and bubbling underneath. You can add more stock if they look like they’re drying up during cooking. Serve warm.

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    Reply Maunika January 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Good god helen that does look scrummy! Love the book and the black pepper tofu is to die for! Will defo be trying this. The photos look amazing as always but they actually look better than the stuffed onion pic in the book.

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    Reply Kavey January 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    They look great, I love baked onions…
    I really DO need to get my hands on this book…

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    Reply Christopher January 5, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    They look scrummy; I was loaned the book the other day by my neighbour and tonight did the green pancakes with lime butter – utterly delicious, though the quantities were a bit awry. Nearly all the recipes are completely seductive – I’m ordering it from Amazon tomorrow! Is the first book as good?

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    Reply Helen January 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Maunika – do try both recipes. In fact, buy the book. Both books.

    Kavey – You said it…

    Christopher – Oh yeah the first book is just as good and it has meat and dessert recipes too. You can probably by both on Amazon at a discount I should imagine.

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    Reply Lizzie January 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Oh hello stuffed onions! It looks delicious, and I also need to eat less meat so it sounds ideal.

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    Reply Rich January 5, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Hot damn, they look good… I can’t help but look at them and imagine how well they’d accompany a pork chop though…


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    Reply Jonathan January 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Fantastic stuff. I’m also trying not to eat too much meat in January to save money and shed some paunch. It’s amazing what you can whip up with scattering of vegetables. I’ve found myself spicing things very aggressively. I’m sure meat mellows spice more than carrots or leeks do. Stuffed onions here I come.

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    Reply Sarah January 6, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Yum, I’ve heard they’re really good. They’re on my to-make list but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet!

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    Reply Helen January 6, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Would this work with couscous instead of breadcrumbs? Finding veggie, wheat-free recipes that I can make when cooking for my flatmate can be interesting sometimes!

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    Reply Helen January 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Lizzie – Apart from the MEATEASY!

    Rich – Don’t lead me astray man!

    Jonathan – yeah I think meat can take a lot more spice so it’s a shock when you start adding spices to a veggie curry for example.

    Sarah – Oh, you must…

    Helen – Nice name. Yeah you could use cous cous although the texture will be a bit firmer. Let me know what happens if you try it, I’d be interested to know.

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    Reply Hanna January 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Nice photos! I’ve cooked basically everything from Plenty but somehow I still haven’t made these, they’re definitely next now though, looks so amazing!

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    Reply Nancy January 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I’ve been thinking about making these for a while, in the book they do look really good so I think I might just have to take the plunge now!

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    Reply The Curious Cat January 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    This sounds delicious making it! I love all his stuff! xxx

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    Reply Robert January 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Sounds delice as I love stuffed onions. It’s a vegetarian favourite of mine but never had it with feta. Preferring cheddar but I cannot see why feta won’t work.

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    Reply Jill January 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    This looks *seriously* delicious! Just tried to sign up to the Ottolenghi cooking class at Leiths and it’s sold out forever!!

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    Reply Emma January 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Mmm these sound delicious! Ottolenghi is a genius – he can make even a committed carnivore like me drool over veggie food! Have you tried the soba noodles with aubergine and mango (also in Plenty) yet? They are amazing!

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    Reply Helen January 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Hanna – What’s been your favourite recipe so far?

    Nancy – Do it. Jooiiinn usssss

    The Curious Cat – His recipes are never anything less than amazing, it’s really something.

    Robert – I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. Feta would be the obvious choice for me but perhaps not everyone.

    Jill – Yeah I can imagine! It’s hopeless isn’t it. I’d love to do one of his classes too.

    Emma – I haven’t but I have a sticky on the page and I’m making them this weekend! That picture is amazing too, really drew me in. Good to hear someone saying they are as luscious as they look.

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    Reply Alex January 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Looks just like it does in the book! And what a fine book it is.

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    Reply gastrogeek January 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    what a deeply respectful way to treat the humble onion – another triumph of an Ottolenghi recipe, I loves it!

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    Reply Sarah January 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    These look absolutely gorgeous! I’m making them tonight.

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    Reply Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen January 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    These stuffed onions look so amazing! I am going to have to try!

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    Reply Sarah January 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    P.S. Every recipe I’ve tried from Plenty has been amazing. I can heartily recommend the sweet winter slaw in particular: it’s a long list of ingredients and a bit of fiddly chopping, but I think it might be the best salad I’ve ever tasted. Definitely worth caramelising macadamia nuts for. How does he do it??

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    Reply Helen January 10, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Made these last night and they were amazing! Really easy to make as well. (I used wheat-free bread in the end, after my flatmate pointed out that couscous was wheat as well… Oops.)

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    Reply Pilsbury January 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Made this tonight, sounds fiddeley but really isn’t. Would be nice as a main course for two with a green salad methinks.
    What to do with the leftover middle onion bits and stock?

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    Reply Ino January 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I didn’t comment when I first read this, but I have realised that I have been day-dreaming about these onions since then. Maybe it’s time to make them… and buy the book. His recipes on the Guardian look amazing too.

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    Reply Heather February 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I make these at least once every 2 weeks. I love them.

    In response to a question about what to about the leftover onion bits. I chopped mine up and used half for a soup to be made that week and froze the other half to be used at a later date. As for the stock…throw some mussels, clams, shrimps and do a boil. YUM!

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    Reply Emma December 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I’ve made these for two dinner parties and have had rave reviews both times. Delish!

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      Reply Helen December 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

      They’re delish, aren’t they? Full of flavour.

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    Reply Georg November 30, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    I really like the recipe and gonna try it for the X-Mas.
    But I´ve an question: what kind of white wine? I assume a vinegary-like type of wine, a kind of sweet one, bcos of the “traditional onion-dolmas”?

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      Reply Helen Graves December 4, 2019 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Georg, I don’t think he specified in the recipe but when you’re cooking with wine it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t use reallly good stuff. I’m sure whatever you use will work fine.

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