Basal mahchi (Stuffed onions)
Throughout North Africa and the Middle East, the onion is a favourite vegetable and there are many versions of this recipe. This particular one comes from the city of Benghazi in Libya.
- 6 large onions, peeled and left whole with roots intact
- 175 g minced lamb
- 25 g chopped almonds
- 25 g raisins
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 110 g breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- 25 g butter
- 300 ml yoghurt
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F - gas 4)
- Bring the onions to the boil in a large saucepan, reduce the heat and them simmer for 10-12 minutes.
- Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Carefully slice ½ cm from each root end and using an apple corer, hollow out the centre until the outer layers about 1 cm thick.
- Chop the removed onion layers and place in a large bowl with the lamb, almonds, raisins, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Mix well.
- Fill the onions with the mixture and place them a a greased overproof dish.
- Dot the onions with the butter and bake for 1 hour at 180° C (350° F - gas 4).
- Mix the egg with the yoghurt thoroughly and pour over the onions.
- Continue baking for a further 10 minutes, then garnish with the remaining parsley.