The City Magazine Since 1975

Stuffed Sweet Onions

From Mike Lata, FIG & The Ordinary {Serves 12}  
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6 medium Vidalia onions, about 8 oz. each, peeled
1 bunch watercress, stems included
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
5 oz. smoked bacon, diced
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 lb. turkey livers, cleaned (chicken livers may be substituted)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. heavy cream
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. sliced garlic
1 lb. ground veal or pork
1½ cups cooked white rice, preferably Carolina Gold
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 leaves fresh sage, cut in fine strips
2 Tbs. Cognac
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese, preferably  grated on a microplane
1 Tbs. snipped chives


Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to boil over high heat. Add the onions and boil them for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions to a bowl of equal parts water and ice. Remove onions once cooled.

Add the watercress to the boiling water for 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove it to the bowl of water and ice. Once cooled, remove and place on paper towels. Soak the porcini mushrooms for 30 minutes in one cup of water used to cook the onions and blanch the watercress.

Bring another saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add the bacon. After two minutes, remove it to paper towels.

Cut the onions in half lengthwise and scoop out all but the outer three layers. Finely chop the onion centers. Finely chop the watercress.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the livers with salt and black pepper. Working in batches so that they will brown and not simmer, sauté them until lightly browned. Remove the livers and let cool. Chop the livers.

Drain the porcini. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine mesh sieve and add it to the skillet. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to remove any browned bits from the livers. Gently boil the soaking liquid until it has almost completely evaporated. Add the cream and bring to a boil, again scraping the bottom of the skillet to incorporate the flavors there. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until brown. Remove. Add the finely chopped onion and the garlic and cook until soft, about five minutes. Add the ground veal and cook through. Add the cream mixture and bring to a boil. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Add the rice, eggs, sage, Cognac, watercress, mushrooms, and livers to the mixing bowl and combine with the veal mixture. Place the mixture in the onion cavities and place the onions in a baking dish. Combine the bread crumbs and cheese and top the onions with it. Finish by topping them with the bacon. Bake the onions for 45 minutes, or until brown on top. Sprinkle the snipped chives over the onions and serve.

Note: The onions can be made up to eight hours ahead and refrigerated. Reheat in a 400°F oven until hot through.