Has anyone made stuffed onions?

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dr morbius

Senior Cook
May 18, 2023
The Island of Misfit Toys
I made stuffed onions once before, a few weeks ago. My family liked it quite a bit, and I'm planning to make it again on Saturday night. But here's the deal: I want to make more of it. Here's what I did:

I peeled two VERY large white onions, cut off the top and bottom of each, and then cut down to the core on one side. I put the onions in a large saucepot covered with water, brought them to a boil, and kept them on a low boil for 15 minutes. This is to soften the onions. After 15 minutes I removed the onions to a large bowl and allowed them to cool. I saved the water from cooking the onions.

Meanwhile, the meat stuffing starts with a pound of ground beef. The recipe I found calls for adding cooked rice to this, perhaps 1.5 cups, but since my wife cannot eat rice I used riced cauliflower - very nice. I seasoned the meat much like I would for stuffed cabbage: salt, pepper, paprika, marjoram, garlic powder, perhaps a bit of rosemary. One now separates the layers of onion very gently, and uses the hearts of the onion, minced, in with the ground beef/rice mixture.

At this point, it's pretty straightforward: put a spoonful of the meat mixture inside a layer of onion, roll it up and place it, seam side down, in a large skillet. Repeat until you've used up all the onions and meat. Use that water from cooking the onions: add two tsp beef soup base to two cups onion water and ad an additional two cups onion water and pour this over the stuffed onions. Simmer, covered, for an hour and one is done. Goes very nicely with white rice (which my daughter and I like just fine) and boiled carrots.

Now, here's my issue: two big onions, one pound of meat and a cup or so of rice cauliflower neatly filled up a 12" skillet, and I want to make a larger amount. I have three jumbo Vidalia onions on hand and an appropriate amount of ground beef and riced cauliflower, but I don't have a pan big enough. I figure I might be able to use a lasagna pan and make this in the oven, covered with foil of course. But I am not sure about this.

So. I'm Doc, by the way. Has anyone else tried this?
There are many oven roasted versions of stuffed vegetables.

In that video Lidia stuffs many vegetables for roasting including onions.
Both the above sound delicious. But one is a wet simmer the other a dry roasting. so it depends which you would prefer.

I see no reason you can't use a lasagna dish and slow braise in the oven. Same as stove top. I would just keep an eye on the liquid and replace should it be needed. Temperature for the oven I'm not sure of. Perhaps 325 ??

Good luck - be sure to let us know how it turns out and what you did.

AND Welcome to DC, dr morbius
I've made them once stuffed with bacon and cheese but I don't remember if I baked them or not. I know I didn't like the result, so I didn't keep that recipe. But reading what you've done with yours makes me want to try them again your way.
Don't know if this qualifies as stuffed onions but our family loves them, especially as an accompaniment to roast beef.

Servings are one medium onion per person. Remove outer skin of each onion and use a melon baller to make a nice "well" in the non-root end of the onion. Place onions in a baking dish and put a cube of beef bouillon and a tablespoon of butter in the well.

Add about 1/4 inch of water in the baking dish. Cover and bake at 350F for about an hour.

Pretty yummy and the seasoned water is good over a roast.
I seem to remember you posted this once before - I said at the time it sounded delicous yummy and that I would try it. Never did. Now I have got to! Still sounds... umm... great!
I did a little mental math on my way home this morning (I'm filling in on an overnight gig this week and posting from the computer at work). The area of my lasagna pan is 117 square inches (9x13). The area of a 12" skillet is pretty close to 113 square inches. So I figure I would need to upgrade to my roaster pan. Lasagna pan won't be big enough.

I do not plan to "dry roast" my stuffed onions. I would add the broth/water mixture to whatever baking dish I use and then cover it, whether with foil or my roaster pan lid. This dish is very much like stuffed cabbage (sans tomato soup, naturally) except with onions instead of cabbage. A little easier, a lot tastier.

But here's where I'm still a bit fuzzy. An hour on the stove versus how long in my oven? I am inclined to think that if I'm baking at 325 AND increasing the amount of food I'm making, I would need longer than an hour in the oven. Not sure. Maybe 1 hour 15 minutes. The time on the stove is after it comes to a boil, and the oven time has to cover bringing it up to temperature.
Bring all your liquids to a boil first - then pour over your onions - then put in the oven. I have no idea on the timing but by knowing the liquid has already come to a boil should be easier to time.

I would start checking it at your hour time of the stove top - It may actually take a bit longer - so if you are serving it for a specific time - take that into account. I'm sure it will keep warm if you are a bit early with it.
I made stuffed onions on the weber smoky mountain. Recipe by Raichlen, if I remember correct.
They were very nice and I don't know why I only made them once.

I'm going to dig out the recipe and make it again (since I have plenty onions as I grow them).
It had onions (obviously), ground meat (filling) and bacon (to wrap around the onion)

As for your cooking time, I agree with starting with boiling liquid to make timing easier (for next time), around 350 F or a bit higher.
Check after about 30-40 minutes.
Have some hot water (thermos flask) ready in case the liquid has reduced too much.
Okay, today I made my stuffed onions for a second time and I learned a few things.

First, I really should be calling them stuffed onion rolls, because I am rolling up the onion around the meat filling.

Second, making them in the oven in the roaster worked just fine. I baked them at 325 for 75 minutes, and if anything I'd reduce the cooking time by perhaps 10 minutes. There was no loss of liquid along the way - just the opposite: I suspect some liquid comes off the onions as I bake. I increased the beef soup base to 4 tsp, so it was a nice, full-flavored broth I was cooking in. A good move.

Third, Vidalia onions were a mistake. Vidalia onions aren't completely round. They're kind of flattened globes, and some of the layers are thicker than other layers. When you're stuffing the layers with your meat mixture, you really want the same thickness everywhere. Also, the rounder the onions, the bigger the layered pieces are for stuffing. When the onions are flattened, you can't really wrap the onions around the meat mixture. Next time, I'll go back to using white onions if I can't find Spanish onions that are large enough.

Now, I didn't mention before that after the onions are cooked I put them on a platter and cover them while I make a gravy from the beefy-onion cooking liquid. I use a gravy separator in order to rid myself of the excess beef fat (this is 80/20 beef we're talking about) and then make a gravy with what's left by using a slurry of corn starch and water. Naturally, before one thickens the gravy one tastes it, and it was weak. I needed more beef soup base. This is why I suspect liquid comes off the onions during cooking, because it wasn't weak when I poured it over the onions!

So, while the finished dish tasted very, very good with the Videlia onions, the architecture of these stuffed onion rolls preclude using them for this dish. I need to have really big, really round onions. Nothing wrong with cooking them in the oven if need be. I'm still not completely happy with the seasoning of my beef; I could have made it a bit spicier. But this is definitely going into my rotation as something I'll be making several times a year. Thanks for the advice.
Could you not do batches? I would suggest trying an oven method like others have suggested but if they are just not the same, despite it taking more time, the batch route may be the one to take. Best of luck! :)
I've done the oven method now twice, and it works. Best to use ground round or better, at least 85% lean. I've just come to accept that when I make this, there aren't going to be any leftovers.

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