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Nov 19, 2008 03:17 PM

Creamed pearl onions

I need to make creamed pearl onions for T-day and am in need of a recipe. My in-laws are coming over and my MIL obsesses over having them. Actually, she is obsessed with buying Green Giant frozen creamed pearl onions, and my husband is threatening to buy them. If anybody has a recipe for them I would greatly appreciate it.

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  1. Ah ... cook onions, make cream sauce, add onions to cream sauce?

    Okay, to be more specific, the onions are cooked first -- prep them by cutting a small cross in the stem end before you cook them, or the insides will poke out as they cook (the onion swells, but the skin doesn't, so the middle gets squeezed out the end). You can boil them or I usually steam them until just tender. Let cool. Trim the ends and slip off the skins (need very sharp paring knife for this). You can do this way ahead, and you should, because it's time-consuming (do it the night before or hand your hubby the bowl and let him do it while he watches football).

    Make a basic cream sauce using your favorite recipe -- I guess I usually use two tablespoons of butter, two tablespoons of flour to make a nice roux, and add 1-2 cups (depending on how thick you like your cream sauce) of whole milk. I like to put a spash of vermouth or sherry in mine and you should use some white pepper. I think this year I might try adding some fresh rosemary while the cream sauce simmers and then removing it before serving.

    Add onions to cream sauce and reheat gently before serving.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I cheat a bit more to get some more flavor, I simmer my onions in a light chicken or turkey stock, and I use some of the stock when I make the cream sauce. I just replace a portion of the milk with stock, You can enrich the cream sauce if you want with cream to replace the fat lost by replacing the milk with stock.

      I too use sherry, or brandy, or cognac as well. Not exactly traditional, but way more tasty then boiled onions in a white sauce.

      1. re: gardencub

        Good idea! I might try that this year. I only make creamed onions once a year, so I don't usually feel the need to be innovative.

    2. Buy frozen pearl onions to avoid horrible peeling job. They will be fine. Just make cream sauce and add the (cooked) onions.

      1. I have to say that I can't stand most creamed onion recipes, but I love, love, love this one:

        However, instead of peeling all those fresh onions. I boil frozen ones until they are almost done, then mix them in the sauce and bake them. This way you get the convenience without the undercooked flavor that prefrozen onions can have.

        1. Is your MIL Irish American? Ha, we love those in our house and my grandmother from County Mayo used to make them for every holiday. Don't sweat it, just buy the frozen pearl onions from Birdseye. I've done it with the fresh onions, which is a real pain in the a--, and everyone said they like the frozen onions better! Make a nice bechamel with light cream and a bit of heavy cream, salt, pepper, and a dash of Tabasco. Be sure you drain the onions really well before adding to the sauce. It's actually really easy to make, and so much better than the frozen stuff. The other recipe posted for creamed onions also sounds wonderful, but I have a feeling your in-laws will prefer the more traditional, plain Jane version.

          1. I too am in charge of the creamed pearl onions and someone on Chowhound provided this recently, which I will be making:

            "This recipe was found in my local paper- and I ended up sending a thank you note to the lady- it is THAT good!

            Gratin of Four onions-

            1/2 lb of shallots
            1 lg yellow onion sliced thin
            2 bunches leeks halved and sliced thin
            2 garlic cloves minced
            3 T unsalted butter
            1lb bag pearl onions
            2 c heavy cream
            1/4 minced fresh parsely
            2 t fine dry bread crumbs

            cook shallots, yellow onion, leeks & garlic in butter over moderate heat, until soft. Add pearl onions and cook until they are tender. Stir in cream, bring to a low boil then simmer. Season with salt and pepper, stir in parsley. Place in a buttered 2 qt shallow dish and sprinkle with crumbs. Bkae at 475 for 15 to 20 minutes- till cream is bubbling and the edges are golden.

            Serve immediately.