Provencal Style Stuffed Onions are a wonderfully elegant and easy French inspired side dish that goes from holiday feasts to everyday meals.
Onions are the workhorses of the kitchen and the foundation of so many billions of dishes across the globe that we forget how lovely and delicious they are all by themselves. I used Vidalia onions for these, but any kind will work, sweet or regular, including red. Sweet onions have a slightly more flattened shape which I think lends itself to stuffing, and a mild flesh that bakes up beautifully. A platter of these would be spectacular on a Thanksgiving table.
Because of their layered structure onions are really easy to hollow out with a spoon. Just keep spooning out the pulp until you get a nice big cavity. Most of the pulp will go right back into the stuffing so there’s no waste. I look for onions that are similar in size, and have one flattish end so they will sit upright in the baking pan without rolling.
I love the super easy laid back style of my Provencal Tomatoes and I’m looking to recreate that feel here. There aren’t a lot of exotic ingredients, just a simple aromatic stuffing. I love any excuse to use my Herbes de Provence. Mine come in a little ceramic pot and I feel very continental whenever I sprinkle them on anything. Brands differ, but the mix usually contains savory, basil, fennel, rosemary, and sometimes chervil, marjoram, and lavender.
This is a perfect idea for the non meat eaters at your holiday tables, and you could add all sorts of other ingredients to make it a heartier vegetarian dish. I have to say, though, I was really tempted to add some bacon or country sausage to this recipe. I’ll do that next time.
Apart from holiday menus, these onions work well with steak, or pork and lamb chops. Remember Salisbury steak? That just popped into my head, I think they’d make a good pair since they’re both a bit retro.
This recipe serves 2, so multiply the ingredients as you like. For Thanksgiving fill the onions with your traditional stuffing. You can prep them ahead and bake them when you’re ready.
- 2 Vidalia onions (or any other variety, sweet or regular)
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp butter, divided
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- splash of white wine, sherry, or Marsala
- 1 tsp herbes de Provence
- 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- more white wine for baking
- Set oven to 375F
- With the flattest side of the onion down, slice off the top. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the inside of each onion, leaving a good layer of flesh around the perimeter, being sure to leave the bottom intact. Reserve the scooped out bits.
- Rib each onion, inside and out, with a little olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.
- Set in an oiled baking dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, measure out 1/2 cup of the reserved onion flesh and finely chop it. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a saute pan and saute the garlic, shallot, and chopped onion for about 7-8 minutes, until softened. Add a splash of white wine to the pan and cook until absorbed.
- Take off the heat and add the herbes de Provence, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Fill the onions with the stuffing. Press lightly to fit the stuffing tightly in the onion cavity and then mound it up a bit on top. Dot with butter.
- Pour white wine into the baking dish to a depth of just 1/4 inch. Cover loosely with foil and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the onion is completely tender. The exact time is going to depend on the size and shape of your onions. Check with a small sharp knife, it should slide in without resistance.
Sweet onions will be right next to the yellow and white onions in the produce section.