Two unpeeled 1 1/2-pound sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, root
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
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
How to Make It
Step 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.
Step 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.
Step 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.
Step 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.
Step 5 prepare the onions
Stand the onion cups in a buttered medium baking dish. Season the insides with salt and fill with the lamb.
Step 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.
Step 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.
Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.
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