- STEP 1
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and grease a large baking tray. Halve the onions through the root and peel off the papery skin. Cut off any stringy roots but leave the base of the root intact. Slice a little off the rounded side of each onion half, so they will sit on the tray. Cut away the centre of the onions, reserving the offcuts, to leave a hollow – once you’ve cut away a little, you can use your fingers to pull out the layers until you’re left with a shell of 2 or 3 layers. Arrange the halves on a baking tray, season and bake for 10 mins until just softened. Set aside to cool.
- STEP 2
Weigh the onion offcuts and place 140g/5oz in a food processor (save any remaining onions for another recipe). Blitz until finely chopped but still with a little texture – or finely chop by hand. Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook for 5 mins until softened, then set aside to cool.
- STEP 3
Tip the sausagemeat, cranberries, thyme and breadcrumbs into a bowl. Add the fried onions and a little seasoning. Mix well. Roll the stuffing mixture into 12 balls and use to fill the onion halves. Wrap a slice of pancetta around each ‘bauble’, ensuring the ends meet underneath the onions. Can now be covered with cling film and chilled for up to 2 days or frozen for up to a month.
- STEP 4
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Unwrap the stuffing baubles (if chilled) and bake for 25 mins until cooked through and the bacon is starting to crisp. If you’re cooking from frozen, bake for 35 mins. (If you have a full oven, it may be too steamy to crisp up the bacon, so finish with a blast under a hot grill until nicely browned and crispy.)