Roasted Meat-Stuffed Onions with Tamarind and Butter

Variations of this traditional recipe, "makshi basal," crop up all over Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and...
Contributor

Jan Baldwin

Variations of this traditional recipe, "makshi basal," crop up all over Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, where it can be served as a hot mezze dish, or as a main course. Large golden or red onions are ideal for this dish, as the layers can be easily unravelled, stuffed, and rolled up again.

Mezze by Ghillie Basan, photography by Jan Baldwin, is published by Ryland Peters & Small.

4
Servings
257
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2  large onions, peeled and left whole
  • 9  Ounces  lean minced/ground lamb
  • 1/2  Cup  long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1  Tablespoon  tomato purée/paste
  • 2  Teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1  Teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 1  Teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1  Teaspoon  ground coriander
  • A small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (reserve a little for garnishing)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  Tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1  Tablespoon  tamarind paste
  • 2  Teaspoons  runny honey
  • 1  Tablespoon  butter
  • lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut each onion down one side from the top to the bottom and pop them into the boiling water for about 10 minutes, until they are soft and begin to unravel. Drain and refresh the onions and separate the layers.

In a bowl, pound the meat, slapping it down into the bowl. Add the rice, tomato purée/paste, spices, parsley, and seasoning and knead well, making sure it is thoroughly mixed.

Spread the onion layers out on a clean surface and place a spoonful of the meat mixture into each one. Roll them up loosely, leaving room for the rice to expand on cooking. Tuck in the ends and pack the stuffed onions close together in a heavy-based pot or ovenproof dish. Mix together the olive oil, tamarind paste and honey with roughly ½ cup water and pour it over the stuffed onions.

Cover the pot or dish with a lid or aluminum foil and pop it in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until the rice has expanded.

Melt the butter in small pot and pour it over the stuffed onions. Place them back in the oven, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until nicely browned on top and slightly caramelized.

Arrange the stuffed onions on a serving dish and drizzle any leftover tamarind butter over them. Garnish with the reserved parsley and serve them hot with wedges of lemon to squeeze over them.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
17g
24%
Sugar
5g
6%
Saturated Fat
10g
42%
Cholesterol
51mg
17%
Carbohydrate, by difference
10g
8%
Protein
17g
37%
Vitamin A, RAE
10µg
1%
Vitamin B-12
1µg
42%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
2mg
3%
Calcium, Ca
16mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
1g
4%
Folate, total
7µg
2%
Iron, Fe
1mg
6%
Magnesium, Mg
17mg
5%
Niacin
3mg
21%
Phosphorus, P
101mg
14%
Selenium, Se
6µg
11%
Sodium, Na
109mg
7%
Water
72g
3%
Zinc, Zn
3mg
38%

Meat Shopping Tip

Most cattle are fed a diet of grass until they are sent to a feedlot – where they are finished on corn. When possible, choose beef from cattle that are “100% grass fed” - it will be more expensive, but better for your health.

Meat Cooking Tip

The method used to cook beef is dependent on the cut. Cuts that are more tender, like filet mignon, should be cooked for a relatively short amount of time over high heat by grilling or sautéing. While less tender cuts, like brisket and short ribs, should be cooked for a longer time with lower heat by braising or stewing.