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Nov 3, 2012 02:48 PM

Creamed Onions for Thanksgiving

I like creamed onions and try to delegate that to my daughter (she lives downstairs) but they don't turn out right so I think I must do them BUT when turkey comes out, I'm busy making the gravy.

I know it's a lot of work to prepare those little onions but I just don't like the frozen ones. Could I prepare the onions the day before and keep them in the fridge? Should I finish them just before the turkey comes out? I'm afraid it will separate or be overcooked by the time the turkey is carved and served.

Or, can I prepare it the day before and just reheat in microwave before serving?

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  1. Either is fine. If nuking to reheat, leave the bowl on the counter to come to room temp first, then use low power so you aren't cooking the sauce and making it thicken further.

    1. I haven't had a ton of success reheating creamed onions without the sauce breaking (I haven't really been all that careful about it though - I usually just nuke the hell out of the leftovers). If I were you I'd either make the complete dish up to the baking step and just do the baking the next day (allowing the dish to come to room temp before putting it in the oven), or peel and blanch the onions the day before and hold them overnight in a ziploc or something else airtight. Then you can do the sauce/baking any time during your day-of prep that seems convenient.

      1. you can certainly reheat in the microwave, just do it gently and from room temp and it will be fine. really.

        1. I prepare the onions two days before- steaming and popping the little suckers. The next day I make the sauce and then simmer the onions in the sauce for enough time for the onions to finish cooking. The day of Thanksgiving, I put the onions with sauce into a double boiler to bring back to temperature. It takes a fair amount of time but the sauce has never broken.

          I am the last person in my family willing to fuss with those onions but they all love this once a year treat.

          2 Replies
          1. re: smtucker

            When you heat up in double boiler, you do this after turkey comes out of oven? You have the water simmering low and slow?

            So, before, you steam the onions? I've read to put in boiling water (I forget how long, not long, it's in the recipe) and them put them into bowl of ice water and then pop them out of the skins.

            1. re: walker

              I actually steam the onions to pop them out of their shells. [I have a really big steamer.] I do not put them into cold water. Never considered that! I burn my hands for this one dish. Then make the sauce with onions and then in a double boiler to warm.

              The turkey is never in the oven, but I probably put the onions in the double boiler about an hour before we sit down to eat? [Our turkey is outside on a smoker.]

          2. How about posting a good recipe. I have never heard of creamed onions.

            7 Replies
            1. re: randyjl

              Here's one we've used; I'm open to trying a different one; I'll probably double this:

              2 pounds unpeeled white pearl onions
              1 1/4 teaspoons salt
              2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
              4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (is this too much flour y'all??)
              2 cups heavy cream or half and half'
              1/4 teaspoon black pepper
              1/2 teaspoon paprika

              Place unpeeled onions in a large pot of boiling water for approx. one minute .. remove from boiling water and drain. Transfer onions to a bowl of ice water to prevent further cooking. Drain again and peel (they'll pop out of their skins).

              Add onions to pot with 1 teaspoon of salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and cook til onions are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

              While onions are cooking, prepare the sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat then whisk in flour, pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk continuously to prevent burning then slowly add cream or 1/2 and 1/2 while whisking and cook until mixture thickens and comes to a slight boil, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat, add cooked onions to the sauce. Add to serving dish and sprinkle with paprika. (Chopped fresh parsley on top would be good, too.)

              My daughter put a note on the recipe that it seemed too thick so she thinned it with some milk.

              1. re: walker

                I found a similar recipe on Saveur that I've been wanting to try - the main differences seem to be the addition of a bit of white wine and nutmeg, and the fact that the Saveur one is topped with a mixture of gorgonzola and parmesan cheeses. What could be bad about that?

                1. re: biondanonima

                  I think the gorgonzola would ruin the dish by covering the delicate flavor of th eonions.

                2. re: walker

                  I like them seasoned with a bit of Szechuan pepper, toasted and ground.

                  1. re: walker

                    Yes. That is too much flour. I use a 1:1 ratio of butter to flour. I never use heavy cream or half and half either; a good quality whole milk is sufficient. I also use a fair amount of dried mustard and a bit of nutmeg, no paprika.

                    As mentioned above, I don't boil the onions, I steam them. Then pop them when I can just bare the level of heat.

                    1. re: randyjl

                      Here is the link to a recipe I have used from Food & Wine and always had great results. (Aren’t most things better with bacon added? :-)