Pearl Onions in Parmesan Cream Sauce
Here’s an onion casserole that is really hard to beat. The flavor gets rave reviews, and the dish looks beautiful on the buffet table. I served this with Dr. Pepper Ham and Easy Cheesy Potatoes for Christmas Day dinner for a family mob, and everyone wanted more!
You can use sliced onions, pearl onions, or a combination like I did. If you use sliced onions, don’t overcook the casserole once it’s in the oven, because they will give off more water and make the sauce runny. (But even then, it’s still delicious!)
If you can’t find frozen pearl onions (which seems to be true for most of the year), fixing this from fresh pearl onions is worth the trouble. Put the onions in boiling water for a few minutes, drain and let cool. This will make peeling them easier.
Even easier is to use frozen pearl onions. However, a couple of years ago when I wanted to buy some, none of the stores had them. So when they showed up in the fall, I bought a dozen bags and put them in the freezer. Now I have them whenever I want. They seem to be seasonal in the freezer even when they are available fresh in the produce section of the market.
It is also easy to use regular brown onions, peeled and sliced into shreds (not diced). I used both these and pearl onions in the dish in the photo.
6 medium onions or 6 bags of pearl onions, or a combination
4 stalks diced celery
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 four-ounce can green peas
1/4 cup bacon bits, or four slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking dish (approx. 8in. x 12 in.) with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, melt three tablespoons of the butter and sauté the onions and celery for 6-8 minutes until tender. Lift the onions out with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, melt the remaining butter (five tablespoons), add the flour, and stir to make a roux. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly. Add the salt, sugar, white and cayenne pepper, and continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about two or three minutes. Add the peas and stir.
Add the sauce to the onions, pour into the baking dish, and top with the bacon bits and Parmesan cheese. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through. To add color to the final dish, sprinkle with paprika. Let the dish cool for about 10 minutes before serving so it will firm up a little.