Lamb and Spinach Stuffed Onions

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photo by Anna Williams

These are not only delicious but look incredible. Serve them for Shabbos dinner warm for extra special company.

Serves 6

Stuffed Onions
2 – 3 unpeeled 1½ pound sweet onions, like Vidalia, root ends trimmed 2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces spinach
1½ pounds ground lamb
3 teaspoons ancho chile powder (I like ancho-chili powder but you can use chili powder if you do not have it)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
1-/2 cups beef broth, divided
1-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup pareve whipping cream

Topping
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

PREPARE THE ONIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the onions in a small baking dish, root ends down, and rub with olive oil. Add 1/2 inch of water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet. Add the spinach in batches, tossing until wilted. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the water. Coarsely chop the spinach.

In the same skillet, cook the lamb over moderately high heat, breaking it up, until no pink remains, 3 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and add the ancho chile powder and cinnamon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the spinach. Transfer the lamb filling to a large bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup of the beef broth and 3/4 cup of the crushed tomatoes.

Cut 1/2 inch off the top and bottom of the baked onions. Separate the layers, trying not to break them. You will need 10 onion cups: some large, some medium and 2 small. Finely chop enough of the onion scraps to make 1/2 cup; fold into the lamb filling and season with salt and pepper.

Stand the onion cups in a non-stick medium baking dish. Season the insides with salt and fill with the lamb.

In a large skillet, combine the pareve cream with the remaining beef broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Pour the sauce over and around the onions.

MAKE THE TOPPING In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mound the topping on the onions. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until hot. Uncover and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake for 5 minutes, until the topping is crisp. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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