For the Top 36 Elimination Challenge on Master Chef, the judges launched Ground Beef at us. I typically only buy ground beef if I am grilling burgers out back. Instead, I like to use ground turkey, pork, chicken or a mix for most of my cooking (chili, meatballs, bolognese, meatloaf…you name it.) I thought “Hamburger” would be a little too predictable this early in the game so I decided to pull out a surprising recipe that I have served as a bright app or light bite. It involves parboiling spanish onions to create an almost-pasta-like casing to stuff with whatever I am inspired by and have on hand. This makes for a great, low carb base and can be brilliant as a vegetarian dish as well. What ended up happening was a dish that carried a memory of a hearty Eastern Block plate (think horseradish, sour cream, onion, ground beef) with a brightness suitable for summer (orange zest, baby celery, roasted pine nuts, white wine vinegar).
*Other great stuffing combinations: ground chicken and dill; feta, tomatoes, kalamata olives and parsley; grilled peaches, goat cheese and mint…
(Serves 4 as an appetizer)
For the beef:
- 1 lb ground beef, I like 85% lean grass fed
- 2 Tbs orange zest, from approx 2 oranges
- 2 Tbs tarragon, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
- Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
- 2 Spanish onions, halved, segmented and parboiled until flexible in (beef) stock
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, shaved
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp anchovy, crushed
- 1/2 cup shaved, baby celery
- 1/3 cup golden raisins, rehydrated in reserved stock from onions
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 Tbs white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup EVOO
- Parsley and Celery leaves
- Salt and Cracked Pepper to taste
For the horseradish creme:
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche
- 1Tbs+ horseradish (to taste)
- salt, kosher to taste.
- Parboil onion layers until tender. Remove from stock and allow to cool. (Throw on grill or grill pan if you would like to give the onion some color and texture.) Reserve stock and use to rehydrate golden raisins for vinaigrette.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Using a fork, gently combine ground beef with orange zest, tarragon, garlic, worcester sauce, salt and pepper (you can sear off a small piece the size of a nickel if you need to test seasoning)
- Form small logs approx. 2″ long by 1″ round (imagine these nesting neatly inside of onion wrap. You may wrap onion around meat at this point and bake. However, I like to sear off meat, and build some nice color and texture before I wrap in onion.
- Wrap onion delicately around stuffing and place in oven proof baker. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, cover with foil and bake 15-25 depending on thickness and if you have precooked the meat.
- While the stuffed onions bake, heat olive oil and saute shallot and garlic until translucent. Add anchovy. Turn off heat and add shaved celery to slightly soften. Off heat, toss in golden raisins and pine nuts. Whisk in white wine vinegar, olive oil, parsley and celery leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk together creme fraiche, horseradish, salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
- For plating, I like to use a long rectangular plate. Running lengthwise, lay down vinaigrette and immediately beside, drizzle creme fraiche. Place Onion Wraps neatly on top. Serve as a light appetizer.
*This recipe has been modified slightly from the original version. MasterChef/FOX reserves the official rights.