Stuffed Onions (Kelemia)

Onions Stuffed with Ground Meat / Kelemia

The Greek kitchen abounds with luscious "country" recipes for stuffed onions, an economical dish that requires a little time. This particular rendition os from Galaxidi, a coastal area on the mainland side of the Corinth Canal. It makes a beautiful dinner party treat, as an opener or, even, as a main course. There are vegetarian renditions of stuffed onions, too. Look for large red onions. They have a robust flavor and look better than pale yellow onions when cooked.
10 min
45 min


  • 12 very large yellow onions
  • ½ pound/225 g. ground goat or lamb
  • ½ pound/225 g. lean ground beef
  • ½ cup grated kefalograviera cheese or any hard yellow cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup short-grain rice nihaki
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup/80 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • 1 cup/240 ml dry white wine


  1. 1. Peel the onions and cut off the tops and bottoms so that both ends are level, reserving the cut ends. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the onions for about 5 minutes to soften. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Using a teaspoon, hollow out the inside of the onions, leaving a ¼-to ½-inch/0,06- to 1-cm shell. Finely chop the inner sheaves, together with the reserved tops and bottoms.
  2. 2. Combine the ground meats, cheese, and parsley in a large bowl. Add the chopped onions and rice, season with salt and pepper, and add the olive oil. Knead together very well.
  3. 3. Fill each of the onions with the ground meat mixture. Place in a single layer in a large, wide pot. Pour in the wine and enough water to just cover the onions. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the onions and weigh it down with a plate. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the onions are very tender and the filling cooked, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Serve.
Love vegetables? Want to learn more great plant-based Mediterranean dishes? Enroll in my online  class “Baked Vegetable Classics!” 

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