Published by Robert Rose
Here’s a tasty solution to the midweek dining blues — ground beef-and-bulgur-filled onions, topped with Parmesan and dill. Use any sweet onion — Vidalia, Spanish and red onions all work well. Just make sure they are as crisp and fresh as possible and that all will fit in the stoneware. Serve these with a tossed green salad, sprinkled with shredded carrots to add a sparkle of color, along with nutrients and flavor.
Use an apple corer to make the cavities for stuffing.
This dish can be assembled before it is cooked. Complete Steps 1 through 3. Cool filling thoroughly, then continue with Step 4. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, continue with Step 5.
Mindful Morsels: The next time you find yourself weeping while chopping onions, remember that the sulfur compounds that make your eyes water may also help to keep your blood pressure and, if you suffer from diabetes, blood sugar low.
Natural Wonders: BULGUR
Bulgur, parboiled wheat kernels that are dried and cracked, is an extremely nutritious whole grain. Not only is it high in dietary fiber, it also contains a panoply of minerals, including iron, zinc, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium. It also contains lignans, antioxidants that protect against heart disease, colon and breast cancer. A recent Dutch study indicates that long-term consumption of lignans may also improve cognitive function in older women and researchers are currently looking at the role that lignans might play in preventing hair loss. Because it releases its natural sugars slowly into the bloodstream (it has a low glycemic index) eating bulgur can also help to keep diabetes under control.
Bulgur contains no saturated fat but has a robust flavor and texture, which makes it a suitable substitute for some or all of the ground beef in a recipe. This makes it easy to improve the nutritional profile of a dish without sacrificing lip-smacking taste.
Cooking Methodslow cooking
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturecheesy, garlicky, herby, savory, sweet
- ½ cup (125 ml) bulgur
- ½ cup (125 ml) boiling water
- 6 large sweet onions
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
- 12 oz (375 g) extra-lean ground beef
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano leaves, crumbled
- ½ tsp (2 ml) salt
- ½ tsp (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
- ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine or chicken stock
- 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) diced tomatoes, including juice (see Tips )
- ½ cup (125 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped dill or parsley
Large (minimum 6 quart) oval slow cooker
In a bowl, combine bulgur and boiling water. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Cut off tops and bottoms of onions and peel. Hollow out the centers (see Notes) and discard. Drop prepared onions into a large pot of boiling water and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Place in slow cooker stoneware with the hollows pointing up.
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add ground beef, garlic, oregano, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add white wine and tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Stir in bulgur.
Fill centers of onions with beef mixture, using a blunt object such as a kitchen knife to pack the filling in as tightly as possible. Pour remaining filling over onions.
Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until onions are tender and mixture is hot and bubbly. To serve, place an onion on each plate. Sprinkle with Parmesan and garnish with dill.
2006 Judith Finlayson