Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nigella's Supper Onion Pie for Tough Ttimes

It's officially autumn, there's a night chill, & the state of the union is absolutely appalling. We need sustenance. Nigella Lawson's supper onion pie is impressive vs. the amount of time & money spent.

To the inevitable "cheese is so expensive & fattening" remark: buy only the amount needed for a recipe. This cuts down on snacking, & therefore cuts 'cooking calories' & cost.The recipe is below as it is not on Nigella's website. Here are two good food blogs that feature the supper onion pie so you can see the photographs & extra tips. It really is easy, though, & How to Be a Domestic Goddess is well worth buying if you can.

We couldn't resist putting in a photo of Nigella in her funny T-shirt. We want one for our lovely English friend, Maid Marion. It will pay her back for giving
GG's editor a t-shirt of a tiara-wearing cat & "It's not easy being a princess" on it! (OK, it is funny.) Cheeky woman...

PS: Only for humans...felines are forbidden to eat anything from the onion/lily family. Sorry, Giulia.

Supper Onion Pie

(from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess)

4 medium red onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 springs of thyme, de-stalked, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons or 5 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese or Gruyere, grated

For the scone dough:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 scant teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
scant 1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 scant teaspoon dry English mustard
1 large egg, beaten
8- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch pie plate, buttered

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Peel the onions, halve them, then cut each half into 4 segments each. Heat the oil and butter in the pan, then add the onions and cook over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 30 minutes; they should be soft and tinged with color. Season with salt and pepper, and add the thyme. Turn into a pie dish, and scatter 2 ounces of the cheese over the waiting onions. Leave while you get on with the dough topping.

Put the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl with the remaining cheese. Pour the milk into a measuring cup, add the melted butter, mustard, and egg, mix well and then pour onto the flour mixture in the bowl. Mix to a dough using a fork, a wooden spoon, or your hands; it should be quite sticky.

Then tip it out onto a work surface and press into a circle about the size of the pie dish. Transfer it to the dish, pressing it to seal the edges. Put it in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350 F. and give it another 10 minutes, by which time the dough should be golden and crisp on top. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, then cover with a large plate and turn upside-down so the plate's beneath.

Nigella eats this with brown sauce, but it's not necessary. (If you’re not up to making it--we aren't—it's readily available at the market.) Makes 6 generous slices.

(photograph by James Merrell)