• I found this in Dina Cheney’s, ‘Year-Round Slow Cooker’, and it’s complicated…but mostly from the time perspective, we all still felt it was worth it as a fancy appetizer.  If you don’t feel like going to the trouble of stuffing an onion, we also thought the sausage mix would make a great meat pie or tart – enjoy!

    Sausage Stuffed Vidalia Onions (Slow Cooker)

    5 Vidalia onions (only 5 will fit in the average slow cooker)

    2 T. currantsIMG_3637 - this 2

    1/4 c. port

    1 c. good chicken broth

    3 T. butter

    1 1/2 T. sugar

    2 T. milk

    1 piece of white bread, torn up

    3/4 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed (I used 4 Johnsonville Mild Italian)

    2 T. olive oil AND 1 T. minced garlic

    1 T. chopped fresh sageIMG_3594

    Topping

    2 T. olive oil AND 1 T. minced garlic

    5 T. plain, fresh breadcrumbs

    1/2 t. chopped fresh sage

    1/4 t. EACH salt AND freshly ground pepper

    Pour about an inch of water into a large skillet and bring it to a boil.  Cut off 1/4 inch from each onion’s stem (not the hairy end) and peel off the outside layer of skin without removing the root (hairy) end.  Place the onions in the water, cut end down and boil for 15 to 20 minutes until the centers are tender enough to scoop out.  Transfer the onions to a plate until they’re cool enough to handle and then scoop about 1/3 cup out of each – I found that a grapefruit spoon worked really well.  Chop the scooped out onion and set it aside, you’ll need about 3/4 cup – I also thought I could have done this step the day before.

    Put the currants in a small bowl, pour the port over them, let them soak for 15 minutes, then drain them so the port goes into a small pot.  Add the broth, butter and sugar to the port, bring it all to a boil while stirring and continue to boil for 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture is slightly reduced – then pour this into your slow cooker.

    Pour the milk into a medium bowl, mash it up with the torn bread until you have a paste, then add in the sausage meat and mix well.  Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add in the garlic and reserved chopped onion and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the sausage mix and cook and stir until there is no longer any pink, making sure that you’re breaking up the meat as it cooks.  Stir in the sage and drained currants and then allow the mixture to cool a bit so you can stuff the onions – you could probably make the stuffing a day or so ahead as well.  Carefully and evenly spoon the filling into each onion – overflowing is fine – then carefully place the onions in the slow cooker so they’re all standing on their own.  Cook on low for about 4 hours until they’re tender (stab one with a fork), they should still be able to hold their shape.

    For the topping (I feel this could also be done ahead), heat the oil in a small skillet, saute the garlic for a minute or so, then add in the breadcrumbs, sage, salt and pepper and cook and stir for a couple of minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden.  Remove from the heat and set aside until you need them.

    To serve, use tongs to dish up the onions, spoon some sauce from the slow cooker over top, and sprinkle with the crispy breadcrumbs.  Super tasty!

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  • Appetizers 12.12.2013 No Comments

    Mom makes this quite regularly for an appetizer – kids LOVE them – and she found the recipe somewhere on the internet.  There are dozens of versions, but these worked great – enjoy!

    Puff Pastry Cheese Straws

    1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator – I used President’s Choice Frozen Butter Puff Pastry – 450 g – 2 pre-rolled sheets in one packageIMG_3420 - this 1

    1 egg white lightly beaten

    paprika for color

    cayenne to taste

    1 c. + finely grated strong cheese like old cheddar, Parmesan or Asiago

    Preheat the oven to 375 and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment (I thought the twists would hold better if I ‘stuck’ each end to a bare pan…not the best idea).  Brush the surface of a sheet of pastry with a bit of egg white, sprinkle with paprika and cayenne if using and then cover all with a good half cup of grated cheese.  Use a rolling pin to gently push the cheese into the pastry.IMG_3415 - this 2

    Cut the pastry into even, 1/2-inch strips, then gently twist each strip a couple of times.  Lay them onto your prepped baking sheets and when you’re ready, bake for about 10 minutes until the straws are golden and the cheese is melted, then remove them to a rack to cool.   Repeat with as much pastry as you’d like, but these really are the tastiest the day they’re made.

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