Wow. Talk about a flavor pop, both the onions and the sweet potatoes, roasted in a hot oven. Plus I love cooking two vegetables at the same time, fewer moving parts getting dinner on the table.
The trick is to find small red onions, I don't see them often, these came from the garden of our Minnesota friends the Rassmussens. But once you have small red onions, they're so pretty, it seems a shame to just cut them up. So this was a really special way to use small red onions, showing off their shape and color, really making the onions themselves stand out. If you had enough, you could do a dish with all red onions too, no sweet potatoes. Either one would add color to a buffet table, say. Plus people really like cooked onions!
FYI the photograph was taken before the dish went into the oven but the colors stayed really true out of the oven too.
RECIPE for ROASTED WHOLE RED ONIONS with SWEET POTATOES & ROSEMARY
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 4 (two servings of vegetable each)
4 small red onions, about 3" across
2 sweet potatoes, about 1 pound, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary (don't skip)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable stock (for vegan) or chicken stock
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
Wash the onions and slice a flat piece off the root end, this helps the onion sit upright while roasting. Peel off the outer papery layer, revealing a glistening purple bulb. Insert the tip of your knife into the top of the onion by about a half inch, this helps the onion cook more evenly. Arrange in a shallow baking dish, fill in with sweet potato pieces, keep in a single layer as best possible. Top with rosemary.
Mix the Roasting Liquid ingredients and pour over the onions and sweet potatoes. Cover with foil and roast for one hour or until the sweet potatoes are fully cooked and the onions soft.
Serve hot. Once plated, you can either cut into the onions or pick one up by the top and squeeze it gently: the flesh will "pop" right out! Fun! The outer layer may be too tough to eat but helps "bake" in all the flavor and moisture.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
DRY SHERRY SUBSTITUTES My small liquor cabinet is rarely without dry sherry, marsala or vermouth, all are used in small amounts for cooking, adding a subtle underlying flavor that always seems to "just work" no matter what. But I can also imagine substituting white wine, bourbon, apple juice, apple cider, even orange juice.
SWEET POTATO SUBSTITUTES I would use butternut squash, carrots, even red potatoes. Have fun with this, it's easy to play around!
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