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Friday, November 16, 2018

Rose’s Creamed Onions

Today I was going through my favorite Thanksgiving recipes to share them on Facebook and discovered something – I have never published Rose’s creamed onions recipe here on my blog. This is not right and I must rectify the situation immediately.

Great Grandma Rose's Creamed Onions on a plate

When Nate and I met and married, his great-grandmother Rose was still alive. She was in her 90s and still lived in the beautiful Colonial home where she raised her children. It wasn’t until she was 99 years old that she finally moved into an assisted living facility, where she requested a cane simply because everyone else had one. She also always wore a dress, even in exercise classes. She passed away just one month shy of her 104th birthday and I am so grateful to have had the chance to know her.

Cate with her great-great-grandma Rose, who always made creamed onions for the holidays

Rose was able to meet her first two great-great-grandchildren, both of whom carry her name. My daughter, Cate Rose met Great-Great-Grandma Rose a few times — meetings that of course involved many laughs, hugs, and camera flashes.

Until she moved into assisted living, Rose made creamed onions for every holiday. Her creamed onions could always be counted on for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. After she died, Nate’s grandmother and his mom both carried on the tradition. Rose’s creamed onions are beloved and elicit wonderful memories and feelings of love.

Final Picture of Great-Grandma Rose's Creamed Onions Recipe from the food blog This Week for Dinner

The first time I tried making Rose’s creamed onions was with Nate’s sister Jess at Thanksgiving. We inadvertently used pickled onions for the recipe and it was horrible, but also really funny. While the laughs were good, we were a wee bit disappointed at our failure. Thankfully I have since made creamed onions successfully with my girls, keeping the tradition alive.

The more modern version of the recipe uses jarred onions, but Rose always used fresh pearl or boiler onions. The first time I made these after that initial failure, Cate and I could only find fresh onions at the store. Cate insisted that we stop looking and make the recipe the way Rose always did. She literally gripped the fresh onions to her chest, rejecting even the possibility of jarred onions. It was very sweet.

My daughters making their great-great-grandma Rose's Creamed Onions recipesCate and Anna three years ago, making the creamed onions recipe together

Whether you use fresh or jarred onions, the result is the same — delicious! The fresh onions take longer to cook, but if you cook them a long while, as Rose did, it works great. Either way you end up with layers of flat, soft onion petals that complement many different types of meals nicely. I will admit that my kids don’t love eating these onions nearly as much as they love making them, but I’m sure they will appreciate the taste as they get older. As my daughter Anna pointed out, even if you don’t like the onions that much, the cream around them is awesome! As for the adults in the family, we all love Rose’s onions. There are even several onion-averse members of the family who eagerly look forward to this dish each year. It’s just so good served alongside holiday food — as necessary for some family members as cranberry sauce.

Top view of Great-Grandma Rose's Creamed Onion Recipe

Rose's Creamed Onions
 
Recipe for creamed onions from my husband's great-grandmother, Rose McCarthy. Perfect for all kinds of holiday meals.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 16-ounce jar onions (NOT pickled) or 1 pound pearl/boiler onions, fresh or frozen (about 20-25 total)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. If you are using fresh onions, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add onions and cook for 1½ minutes. Drain onions and add to an ice bath to stop cooking. Cut off the root end of the onions and then peel the outer layer off each onion. Set onions aside.
  3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add flour all at once. Whisking constantly, cook until butter has liquefied. The butter and flour will start out pasty, then boil for about 3-4 minutes, then it will foam a bit and become liquefied, about 5 minutes total. When it reaches this point, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 3 more minutes.
  4. Slowly add cold half and half, whisking constantly while adding.
  5. Raise the heat back up to medium and cook until the sauce thickens, between 5-10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in the Parmesan cheese, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  7. Add onions to the sauce, stir well, then pour into a 1½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top with paprika.
  8. Jarred Onions: Bake uncovered for 10-30 minutes, until mixture is hot and bubbly. Cook longer if you want the top more browned.
  9. Fresh Onions: Bake uncovered for 60-90 minutes, until onions are very soft and top is very brown. If you want to cook the onions longer to make them even softer, cover with foil once the top is as brown as you want it.
  10. Frozen Onions: Boil frozen onions for 2 minutes then prepare as you would for the fresh onions.
  11. Creamed onions can be made a day ahead. Follow all directions until the baking step. Place unbaked creamed onions in the fridge, covered. The next day, remove baking dish from fridge, uncover, and let sit at room temperature while oven preheats. You will probably need to add 10-20 minutes of baking time.
Notes
Makes appx. 12 servings; Prep Time: 30 minutes; Cook Time: 10-20 minutes when using jarred onions, 60-90 minutes when using fresh pearl/boiler onions

 


5 Comments »

  1. 1
    Jessica

    Those pickled creamed onions were indeed TERRIBLE but a funny story and funnier memory. Rose must have been laughing at us from above!

  2. 2
    Kim from PA

    I made these for Thanksgiving and everyone liked them. There were no leftovers!

    I couldn’t figure out if the jarred onions available at my grocery store were pickled or not. There were cocktail onions that definitely were pickled and another one that just said “pearl onions in brine”. Brine. That sounded pickley to me. So I ended up using a bag of frozen pearl onions, boiled for 2 minutes, and prepared per your fresh onion instructions. They worked great!

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