nigel slater's mustardy baked onions

Nigel Slater's mustardy baked onions
If in doubt as to what to cook or in need of inspiration, it is always worth turning to Nigel Slater. I had planned to bake some stuffed onions as an accompaniment to Sunday lunch but then half way through the morning decided that my Sunday was just too short to spend stuffing vegetables. Nigel's mustardy baked onions from Tender I were a good old-fashioned side dish to go with my tarragon roast chicken, although it would be perfect with roast pork or gammon too.

You will need to steam or boil the onions before baking, to keep the flesh juicy, and then bake until soft and translucent. It isn't really time-consuming and the end results are rather comforting.

Serves 3-4, as a side dish
Skill level: Easy

ingredients:
6 x medium English onions
30g butter
1 tbsp plain flour
250ml hot light vegetable stock (dissolve 1 tsp Marigold bouillon powder in boiling water)
250ml hot milk
3 x bay leaves
a grating of fresh nutmeg
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
  2. Peel the onions carefully. When removing the root end, try not to remove too much as the onions will start to separate.
  3. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the onions. Simmer the onions for about 20 minutes (or until tender to the point of a sharp kitchen knife).
  4. Drain and set aside.
  5. While the onions are boiling you can make the light white sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan. Gradually add the flour and stir over a low heat until all the flour has been absorbed by the butter. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes until cooked through. (This will ensure that your sauce doesn't taste of uncooked flour!)
  6. Add the vegetable stock and hot milk. Turn the heat up and whisk until all the lumps of flour have been dissolved.
  7. Season well. Add the bay leaves, nutmeg and mustard and stir well to combine.
  8. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly so that the sauce doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan.
  9. Halve the slippery onions and place, cut-side down, in an oven-proof dish. You will need to be careful as you cut the onions so that they do not collapse completely!
  10. Stir the parsley through the sauce and pour over the onions.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes until bubbling and golden.

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