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Sweet Onions Stuffed with Spiced Lamb

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 45 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

In his quest to use inexpensive cuts or overlooked types of meat—like ground lamb instead of the rack or the leg—Michael Schwartz created this delectable recipe. He seasons the lamb with cinnamon, sautés it, then stuffs it inside sweet onions, his favorite vegetable ("all chefs love onions," he says), before roasting.

  1. 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  2. 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  3. 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  4. 6 medium sweet onions (10 ounces each), unpeeled
  5. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 1/2 pound ground lamb
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  10. 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  11. 2 tablespoons coarse dry bread crumbs
  12. 1/4 cup water
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, combine the chicken stock, dried apricots and lemon zest and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the apricots are plump and the liquid is reduced to a few tablespoons, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the top third off of each onion; reserve the tops. Using a melon baller or small spoon, remove the center of each onion, leaving a two-layer shell. Coarsely chop the centers. Trim off the root ends and stand the onions upright in a medium baking dish; leave room for the onion tops.
  3. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the chopped onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 12 minutes. Add the lamb and cinnamon, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is cooked through and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the apricots and 2 tablespoons each of the chopped mint and parsley. Let cool slightly.
  4. Spoon the lamb filling into the onion shells, packing it in tightly and mounding it over the onions. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Set the onion tops beside the stuffed onions and add the water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until the onions are tender and the tops are golden. Let the onions rest for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon each of mint and parsley. Partially cover with the onion tops, transfer to plates and serve.
Make Ahead The lamb-stuffed onions can be baked up to 8 hours ahead. Reheat the onions before serving.

Suggested Pairing

These sweet-and-savory stuffed onions are addictively delicious, somewhat like the reds of the Languedoc-Roussillon in France; their sweet, rustic fruit and light spiciness pair especially well here.

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