The side dishes
Pierogis and cipollini onions won the draw to complement the main course of our Frozen in Ottawa dinner theme. But why this pair?
I wanted our friends to sample my colorful pierogis that we made from scratch for Christmas. I still had enough in the freezer to serve eight as a side dish, so these were a go. That they were made for Christmas and stored in the freezer qualified them for my frozen theme. And I thought they would complement the rabbit stew nicely. Find the recipe here.
As for the remaining veggie dish, I wanted to roast some onions. But not just any onions. I wanted cipollini onions. Pronounced chip-oh-LEE-nee, these onions have more sugar than the larger white or yellow cooking onions. But most importantly to my dinner theme, their shape reminded me of curling stones. As curling is a quintessential Canadian winter sport, I thought these sweet little onions would look at home on my Frozen dinner menu.
Their curling stone shape also lends itself well to roasting these veggies whole. Roasted caramelized onions flavored with balsamic vinegar would pair nicely with the rabbit, I hoped.
Although I had cooked them before, this time cipollinis proved difficult to find. Our regular specialty stores didn’t carry them as they usually do. They are harvested in autumn and may not have been readily available in March. But a Whole Foods new to Ottawa has opened in our neighborhood, and an investigation of their wonders yielded two packages of these little beauties.
Roasted cipollini onions
- 2 pounds cipollini onions
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (2 tsp fresh)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons good-quality aged balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Blanch the onions to make taking the skins off much easier. How: In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add onions. Stir for 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon and dunk them in a bowl of cold water. Peel onions then put them into a medium baking dish.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the thyme, salt, oil, and vinegar, and drizzle over onions.
- Cover with foil or a lid and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and roast for an additional 20 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and fully tender. Remove from oven and remove onions with a slotted spoon; set aside in a bowl.
- Optional: Pour remaining balsamic sauce from pan into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-5 minutes until slightly syrupy. Pour balsamic sauce over onions then toss to coat.
What about the nutrients?
Three cipolllini onions (about 1/2 cup) have 35 Calories, 3 grams sugar, nearly 1 gram fiber and nearly 1 gram protein. A half cup also provides some potassium and vitamin C, but less than 5% of the recommended daily value. Although cipollinis are proportionately high in sugar, at less than 5 grams a serving, here is some sweetness you can enjoy without guilt.
Related – Our Frozen dinner theme to date
- Frozen Blues: Cocktail of the hour – Capture the sky of the Dominican Republic within Canada’s icy cold winters… blue curaçao flavors this drink, designed to introduce perfectly a dinner themed Frozen in Ottawa.
- BeaverTails deconstructed – These nutritious tidbits come with all the fixings of a good BeaverTail, without the deep-frying. A pretty hors d’oeuvre!
- My mandolin’s iceberg salad, starring kohlrabi – Crunchy, juicy and with more vitamin C than an orange, kohlrabi is great in my mandolin salad with its fabulous sesame seed dressing.
- Hasenpfeffer – A rich rabbity stew from Germany.
- 15 steps to making red and green pierogis – Christmas pierogis are possible without resorting to artificial food dyes.
Stay tuned for dessert!