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Lamb-and-Spinach-Stuffed Onions

These stellar lamb-stuffed onions are baked in a creamy sauce and topped with crispy bread crumbs.


slideshow: affordable dinner ideas More Affordable Dinner Ideas


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • Two unpeeled 1 1/2-pound sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, root ends trimmed

  • Oil, for rubbing

  • 5 ounces curly-leaf spinach, washed but not dried

  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs

  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder

  • 1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese


  1. prepare the onions Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the onions in a small baking dish, root ends down, and rub with oil. Add 1/2 inch of water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Let cool slightly.
  2. prepare the onions Meanwhile, heat a large skillet. Add the spinach in batches, tossing until wilted. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the water. Coarsely chop the spinach.
  3. prepare the onions In the same skillet, cook the lamb over moderately high heat, breaking it up, until no pink remains, 3 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and add the ancho chile powder and cinnamon. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the spinach. Transfer the lamb filling to a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, Gruyère, 1/4 cup of the beef broth and 1/2 cup of the crushed tomatoes.
  4. prepare the onions Cut 1/2 inch off the top and bottom of the baked onions. Separate the layers, trying not to break them. You will need 10 onion cups: some large, some medium and 2 small. Finely chop enough of the onion scraps to make 1/2 cup; fold into the lamb filling and season with salt and pepper.
  5. prepare the onions Stand the onion cups in a buttered medium baking dish. Season the insides with salt and fill with the lamb.
  6. prepare the onions In a large skillet, combine the cream with the remaining 3/4 cup of beef broth and 1/2 cup of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Pour the sauce over and around the onions.
  7. make the topping In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mound the topping on the onions. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until hot. Uncover and increase the oven temperature to 425°. Bake for 5 minutes, until the topping is crisp. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.

Contributed By Photo © Anna Williams Published April 2012

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