Beef-and-Spinach-Stuffed Onions

So... Mr. Happy Plate loves to watch golf on tv.  I, on the other hand, Hate to watch golf.  I don't mind playing every once in a while, but watching it on tv is much worse than waiting for a pot of water to boil!  So, I use that time to find new recipes to try. One of these recipes came from my Food and Wine Magazine, and it looked like a healthy recipe to try, and a fun new alternative to stuffed peppers.  The original recipe called for ground lamb, but lamb can be quite costly if not on sale, so I substituted ground beef, and thought they turned out great.  Feel free to use any other type of ground meat you like.


2 unpeeled 1-1/2 pound sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, root ends trimmed
Cooking Spray
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained completely
1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1 cup beef broth
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat free half-and-half


3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the onions in a small baking dish, root ends down, and spray all over with cooking spray.  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. Cook the ground beef 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, cayenne, and cinnamon. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the spinach. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, Gruyère, 1/4 cup of the beef broth and 1/2 cup of the crushed tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper.

Cut 1/2 inch off the top and bottom of the baked onions. Separate the layers, trying not to break them.  Finely chop enough of the onion scraps to make 1/2 cup; fold into the ground beef filling and season with salt and pepper.  Stand the onion cups in a buttered medium baking dish.  Fill the cups with the ground beef mixture.

In a large skillet, combine the cream with the remaining 3/4 cup of beef broth and 1/2 cup of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Pour the sauce over and around the onions.

In another bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients.  Mound the topping on the onions. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until hot.  Uncover and turn the broiler on.  Bake for about 3 more minutes, keeping a close eye on the topping to make sure it does not burn, until the topping is crisp. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

I can't wait to come up with another version of stuffed onions!