Friday, 4 December 2015

Onions au Gratin

Creamed Onions seem to have mostly disappeared from festive menus, much to my disappointment. Maybe people find eating whole onions a little disconcerting? In that case, maybe these will do the trick - it's basically creamed onions, sliced and hidden under a slightly cheesy crumb topping. I will cheerfully eat either version. It's onions! And cream sauce! What's not to like; seriously?

If you make them in advance with the expectation of putting them in the oven to be baked just before dinner, keep in mind that if they go into the oven cool you will need to bake them for probably at least an hour or a little more. Also, don't add the crumb topping until just before they go in.

6 servings
1 1/2 hours - 45 minutes prep time

Onions au Gratin

Make the Crumb Topping:
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup (50 grams; 2 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Put the above into a small mixing bowl and rub together with your fingers until well blended; in particular, keep track of that butter. Set aside.

Prepare the Onions & Sauce:
4 to 5 medium (750 grams; 1 1/2 pounds) cooking onions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon soft unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sherry
1/4 cup 10% cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Peel the onions and slice them into 1/4" thick slices. Put them in a pot with water to cover them, and bring them to a boil. Boil for just 1 or 2 minutes, then drain well.

Meanwhile, put the butter, flour, salt, pepper, and mustard into a pot (or directly into your casserole if it can go on the stovetop) and heat them over medium heat. Mix well and stir constantly until everything has blended and sizzled together for a few minutes. Slowly stir in the chicken stock, and continue stirring until the mixture thickens.

Either put the sauce into a shallow 1 quart (litre) baking dish, or not, if it is already there. Add the drained onions, spreading them out evenly and pressing them down into the sauce until it covers them. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until nicely browned and bubbly.

Last year at this time I made Pear & Cranberry Crisp with Granola Topping

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