"I've found it. The best onion recipe—it's smashing, pukka, the absolute dog's kahunas! I love it served with cod, but it's also great with roast chicken. You've got to try it."
Above were Jamie Oliver's exact words when describing these onions in the cookbook 'Happy Days with the Naked Chef '. And the man wasn't kidding! These really are the worlds best onions!
I received the Happy Days cookbook back in 2002, shortly after it was published. It's one of Jamie's earlier books and probably the first decent cookbook I owned. Since then, I have made these onions many times. The original recipe consists of onions, double cream (heavy cream), Parmesan, garlic and rosemary. However, I often take advantage of their versatility by tweaking them here and there. For example, I like to add finely chopped mushrooms to the the cream as they offer a bit of texture and tremendous flavour to the filling. Also, I sometimes replace the Parmesan with blue cheese when serving them with steak. Another variation I like, is to top the onions with some breadcrumbs mixed with freshly chopped thyme. Delicious!
Today I have prepared them with the addition of finely chopped mushrooms, a mix of both light and double cream, and a little extra garlic.
If you're looking for a recipe that is decadent, delicious or 'the absolute dog's kahunas' as Jamie Oliver so eloquently put's it, then try this one, you won't be disappointed!
4 tennis-ball-sized white onions, peeled
3/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms
3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
8-9 tbls double (heavy) cream. You can also use light cream or a mixture of both
4 slices of pancetta or streaky bacon
A few good handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for topping
Note: In the book, Jamie boils the onions but I prefer to steam them. Steaming takes a bit longer but the onions will be more crisp.
Boil the onions for 15 minutes or steam for about 25. The onions need to be slightly tender.
Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. With a sharp knife cut an inch off the stem end of each onion. Then, cut about a heaping tablespoon out of the inside of each onion being sure to leave the outer layers intact. Finely chop and set aside for the filling.
Preheat oven to 400F. Wrap each hollowed onion with a slice of pancetta or bacon and secure with a sharpened sprig of rosemary if desired.
Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Add reserved chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms and rosemary. Cook for a few minutes until softened. Add cream and remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Place onions onto a roasting tray and spoon some of the cream mixture into each one. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan and bake for about 25-30 minutes until tender, depending on the size of the onions.
Recipe adapted from 'Happy Days with the Naked Chef' by Jamie Oliver.