Cowboy-Style Fire-Roasted Onions

If you were a Catalan cowboy, you would roast the unpeeled onions in the coals without wrapping them. This version is easier. Use a mild sweet onion hybrid of the Yellow Granex type: Maui (Hawaii), Vidalia (Georgia), or that European onion transplanted to Washington State, the Walla Walla Sweet.

If you are baking or spit-roasting meats, quarter a few of these onions and put under the meat. All the juices will drip down onto them, the fire will cook them, and then you will want to throw away the meat and eat the onions by themselves with a great glass of draft Pilsner Urquell.

Eat them whole as a course with warm tomato-shrimp sauce; serve them as is with grilled meats; or chop them up to make a sauce with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and chopped rosemary.

Ingredients

  • 4 large red onions, peeled
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 dried chipotle chili, quartered, seeded
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1 cup Pickapeppa sauce
  • Freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • Salt

Method

Preheat-the oven to 375 degrees.

Dig out 2 teaspoons of the center of the onion with a small spoon or a grapefruit knife. Reserve the scooped-out onion pieces.

Put a bay leaf, a piece of the chipotle, a thyme sprig, and some cumin seeds in each of the cavities. Wrap each onion in two slices of bacon. Put each onion in a piece of foil large enough to wrap it, and spoon ¼ cup Pickapeppa sauce over each. Put the scooped-out onion on top. Season.

Wrap each onion and cook in the embers of a cooling wood (or charcoal) fire, in a wood oven, or in a skillet covered with aluminum foil in a regular home oven. If cooked this way you can omit the step of wrapping each onion individually.

Cook for 60 minutes, or until the onion is very tender. Unwrap, remove the bay leaf, chili, and thyme, and continue with whatever the onion is to be used for. Just before serving the onions, sprinkle with the parsley.

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