Mahasha

Onion skins stuffed with veal and rice, Mahasha (muh-hah-shuh) is a Middle Eastern dish in origin which is cooked and eaten in many countries. The meat mixture can be stuffed into other vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines but onions are the best. Mahasha may be eaten hot and served as a main dish with accompanying vegetables such as carrots or it may be eaten cold as a first course.6 large Spanish onions

1 lb. minced veal grated rind and juice of

1 large lemon large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and finely chopped

1 oz. long-grain rice, soaked in cold water for

30 minutes and drained

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoons olive oil

Put the onions, unpeelcd, into a large saucepan. Pour in just enough water to cover. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to the boil. When the water boils, reduce the heat to moderately low, cover the pan and simmer the onions for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.

Remove the pan from the heat and drain the onions in a colander. Set them aside to cool.

When the onions are cool enough to handle, make a cut in each one from the outside to the centre. Slice off the top and the tail. Very carefully remove the outer skin and discard it. Now slip off each layer until they become too small to be used. Each onion, depending on the size, will give between 4 and 6 layers. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, com-bine all the remaining ingredients except the oil. Holding an onion skin in one hand, take a small handful of the stuffing in the other hand, squeeze it gently to remove some of the extra liquid o not remove too much of the liquid or the stuffing will be too dry) and put the stuffing inside the onion skin. Wrap the skin around it. Stuff the remaining onion skins in the same way and reserve any liquid left in the bowl.

In a large frying-pan heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the stuffed onion skins in one layer. (Use two pans if necessary.) Reduce the heat to moderate and fry the onions for 6 to 8 minutes or until they are brown on the underside. Using tongs or a large metal spoon, turn them over carefully. Pour over the reserved liquid in the bowl. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook the onions for 45 minutes.

After 30 minutes uncover the pan. If there is too much liquid in the pan, cook the onions uncovered for the last 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and, using a fish slice or spatula, transfer the stuffed onions to a serving dish.

Serve immediately or allow to cool before serving.

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