We were having family coming over and staying at the weekend, and we were wanting to cook something for dinner that would really look after itself. After all, when you have visitors, you don’t want to be spending the entire time in the kitchen. We settled on doing a slow roast pork leg joint, seasoned with a little salt, pepper and fennel seeds. Then put in a low oven for 6 hours. Easy, hassle-free and simple.
I wanted to do something a little different to the normal sides for a roast dinner, you can’t have a roast dinner without the crispy and fluffy roast potatoes so don’t mess with them. But sometimes, the usual vegetables get a little boring – you know what I mean?
These little beauties I had once before, and have been wanted them again for a while. Rarely is an onion the star of the show, usually it is just used as an ingredient or as a base for a recipe. This is not one of those times, these onions will shout from the dinner table and make themselves known – as the best onions in the world.
The fiddly part of this is when it comes to removing the middle of the onion, once boiled they are slippery little fellows. The layers of the onion spin around and try to fall apart, but if you are careful you will win. The filling for the onion is the removed onion finely chopped with a bit of garlic, rosemary, double cream and a couple of handfuls of parmesan. You will struggle to not eat this straight from the pan, I will warn you now.
The pancetta wrapped around the onion, is like a little flavour blanket. It just brings all the other flavours together nicely, giving a flavoursome saltiness to the onion.
As well as going with roast pork, they also go very well with roast chicken and sustainably caught white fish.
Baked Onions with Parmesan, Pancetta and Rosemary
Serves 4 – Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Happy Days with the Naked Chef
:: 4 Onions :: Olive Oil :: 2 cloves of Garlic :: 4 twigs of Rosemary :: 8 tbsp Double Cream :: 2 handfuls of grated Parmesan Cheese :: Salt and Pepper :: 4 slices of Pancetta
Place the onions is a large saucepan filled with plenty of water and boil for 15 mins until they are slightly tender. Remove from the pan and leave them to cool down. Slice of an inch (2.5cm) from the top of each onion, finely chop and leave to one side. If you need to help the onions stand up straight in a roasting tray, trim the stalk a little so they sit flat. Then cut a heaped tablespoon out from the centre of each onion. Finley chop and place with the other chopped onion.
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Peel and finely chop the garlic, pick the lower leaves from the rosemary stalks and also finely chop. Heat a frying pan and add some olive oil, and fry the chopped garlic, onion and rosemary for a few minutes until they are soft. Turn the heat down and add the cream, parmesan and season. Remove from the heat and stir well.
Wrap a slice of pancetta around each onion, and secure with a skewer of rosemary. Place in a roasting tray, and fill the middle of the onion with the mixture of onion, cream and parmesan. Place in the over for 25 mins until golden.