Delicious baked onions with fresh thyme, bacon and Parmesan cheese; makes a perfect comforting supper dish when served with crusty bread.
4 Large Onions
50g Fresh Wholemeal Breadcrumbs
100g smoked lardons or streaky bacon, chopped into small dice
Crème Fraîche (to mix)
50g Parmesan Cheese (plus a little extra for sprinkling over the top)
Black Pepper (to taste)
Fresh Thyme (I used Lemon Thyme & it was wonderful)
25g Butter (Salted is best)
For vegetarians, omit the bacon and add 100g of grated cheese such as Cheddar or Cheshire cheese - I have also used Sage Derby in the past which works beautifully.
Cook the onions in their skins for 30 minutes in boiling water, then drain and allow to cool before slipping the skins off. Reserve 6 tablespoons of the onion water for baking later.
Cut the top of each onion and carefully remove the centres, leaving about 1cm (1") of onion shell. Chop the removed onion centres very finely.
In a large bowl, mix the chopped onion centres, bacon pieces, breadcrumbs, a tablespoon of finely chopped thyme and Parmesan cheese together, using your hands if necessary. Add sufficient crème fraîche to bind the mixture and then season with black pepper to taste; I used 1/4 teaspoon.
Spoon the mixture into the onion shells, pressing the mixture down firmly to fill the cavity. Stand the studded onions in an oven-proof dish, shallow is best, and then spoon the reserved onion water in and around the onions. Top each onion with a knob of butter.
Bake the onions at 190C/375F/Gas 5 for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Take the onions out just before the end of cooking and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over them , then bake for a further 5 minutes.
Serve hot with salad, crusty bread or grilled tomatoes for a comforting lunch or supper dish.
Vegetarian: For vegetarians, omit the bacon and add 100g of grated cheese such as Cheddar or Cheshire cheese - I have also used sage Derby in the past which works beautifully.