Autumn is a time for indulging in comfort food – and Kathy Tsaples’ mouthwatering Stuffed Onions with White Sauce is just that!. This succulent Greek dish is the ideal way to warm up when the weather cools down.
9 large brown onions (8 whole, 1 peeled and grated)
½ cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
750g beef mince
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp allspice, ground
½ tsp cinnamon, ground
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled and grated
1 cup medium-grain rice
Creamy white sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
3 cups milk, warmed
Pinch of salt
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Squeeze of lemon juice
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add 1 teaspoon of the salt.
Clean the 8 whole onions by removing the brown layers of skin. Place into boiling water for about 30 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the heat and take the onions out of the water with a slotted spoon. Keep the cooking water.
To make the filling, sauté the grated onion in the oil, then add the meat. Gently brown it, then add the remaining salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon and parsley. Stir to combine, then add the grated tomatoes, rice and about 11⁄2 cups of the onion water. Cook over medium heat until all the liquid has absorbed. Taste and adjust seasoning and spices if needed, then turn off the heat and allow to sit while you prepare the whole onions.
Using a sharp knife, cut the onions from top to bottom, only as far as the centre, not right through. Carefully peel off the layers one by one, and place each individual layer on a tray to cool. Once this is done, fill each layer of onion. Open each layer gently and fill with the meat mixture, then close it off by tucking one edge inside the other and squeezing together. It should look like an almond, with a point at each end. Repeat with all the layers of onion, carefully laying them in a baking dish as you go.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.
To make the creamy white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour. Stirring vigorously, cook for a few minutes to remove the floury flavour. Slowly add the warm milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps forming. Once the sauce has thickened, cook for a further 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and the nutmeg. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Pour the sauce over the stuffed onions and bake for 30–40 minutes. Check that the onions are cooked through — there shouldn’t be any crunch left in them.
Kathy Tsaples grew up in Richmond, Melbourne, the daughter of Greek parents, and cites her favourite childhood memories as the ones formed at the family dinner table. She’s the owner of Sweet Greek – a Melbourne store selling delicious Greek cakes, pastries, pies, and ingredients. But there’s more to Sweet Greek than just the food. It’s become a community of its own, based around a mutual love of Greek cuisine.
We’re very lucky to have Kathy contributing some of her favourite recipes to the Peter’s Blog this year. Click or tap here to see more.
Kathy’s also the author of two cookbooks – Sweet Greek, and her latest, Sweet Greek Life. They’re both available from Peter’s – click here to take a closer look.