Pearls and Taters Gratin

pearlsnpotatoesIf you are like me, you’re always looking for  a new way tuck a few potatoes in the meal. After all, after the meat, the next question becomes, “what kind of potatoes shall I fix with that?”

Well, you won’t go wrong with this dish. It’s cheesy which is always good, and has lovely pearl onions which I adore. A bit more work than the average dish, but not enough to keep it off the menu.

If you follow the tips on cleaning your pearls, it will go quickly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 medium clove minced garlic (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds pearl onions
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch lardons
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 6 ounces grated Comté or Gruyère cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk together 1 tablespoon parsley, bread crumbs, and garlic in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

  2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  3. Meanwhile, peel onions by cutting off tops and bottoms, scoring a light X on one cut side, and plunging in boiling water for 1 minute. Rinse under cool running water. Peels should come off easily by hand or with the help of a paring knife. Set aside.

  4. Place bacon in a large skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, until  bacon begins to crisp. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until bacon is browned and crisp all over, about 8 minutes total. Remove the bacon to a towelling covered dish. Add potatoes and onions and saute until browned nicely on all sides. Drain off most of the bacon grease.   Add  heavy cream, and remaining tablespoon parsley and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. Transfer mixture to a rectangular casserole dish. Cover with cheese and transfer to oven. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over top and return to oven. Bake until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes longer. Allow to cool slightly, and serve.

    SERVES: 6

    NOTES: Feel free to substitute any cheese you wish.

    SOURCE: Adapted from Serious Eats

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Oh Oh Onion Quiche

This is a lovely recipe that is so adaptable to what you have on hand. I am indebted to Melanie B at JustAPinch, as this is here recipe.

You have lots of options, so pick what sounds good! But do try other variations to discover what you like best.

Although the recipe calls for Vidalia onions, you can use any kind at all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • A crust (1 sleeve of crackers or equivalent of any type cracker you like, plus 5 tbsp of butter or enough to bring the crumbs together and press them into a pie plate.  Or use a pie crust dough such as a pre-baked pie crust.
  • 2-3 lg onions, sliced fairly thinly
  • oil for sauteing the onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1 c or so of any cheese you like
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare the crust: place the crackers (if using) into a plastic bag, squish out most of the air, and then roll with pin until they are nicely crumbed up.
  2. Melt the butter and pour into the crumbs and mix. It need not be wet, but needs to be damp enough to press into a pie plate. Cook for 8 minutes at 350.
  3. If using dough, prepare as directed and cook as directed.
  4. Place 2-3 tbsp of oil in a saute pan.
  5. Place the sliced onions in the pan and cook slowly until caramelized, 20 minutes or so. A medium temperature should be about right.
  6. Place the onions in the cooked pie shell.
  7. Whisk the eggs and milk together and add a dash of salt and maybe 1/2 tsp of pepper.
  8. Pour over the onions.
  9. Scatter the cheese on top.
  10. Bake in a pre-heated 350 oven for 45 minutes.

Serves: 6-8

Note: You can use any cracker of course, or the pastry crust. Any cheese you like is fine. A cup is only a suggestion. Also, you could it seems to me use other vegetables such as leeks or broccoli. You could fry up a few strips of bacon and crumble that either on top or among the onions before pouring on the custard.

This is a great light meal for lunch or dinner, and of course it is a wonderful vegetable side.

Onion Oh Precious Rings

Ya gotta eat a lot of bad rings before you find a good one.

It’s just a fact.

And I’ve eaten my fair share of lousy onion rings.

I’ve tried a whole lot of “best ever” recipes, only to find that they were dull, tasteless, limpy, batterless, too battered, messes of goo. And given how messy making them is, that’s really really frustrating.

Now this is not a great recipe. I’ve probably not found that yet, but this one is good. It comes out as pictured. Nice light batter that actually is strong enough to stay on the ring. Flavor it up with plenty of seasoning, and it goes nicely with your burger or ribs, or whatever it seems good to go with to you.

A tip or two to make it easier to do, and you are on your way.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large onion, cut in 1/4 inch slices, push the rings apart, and save the centers for some other use.
  • 1 c flour (more or less)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut up the onions, and let sit for a few minutes to dry a bit.
  2. Heat up the oil. About 1 inch in depth. I’m thinking around 325° but frankly I don’t measure the temp, just a sizzle when you scatter a droplet of water on it. A bit higher than medium on the electric range.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients with a whisk. Then add the milk and egg, whisking until smooth.
  4. Batter should be thick enough to coat the onion ring, and be visible. Drop one in and see how it goes. The batter should remain and should, after browning and turning look very much like the picture. The onion ring should sink into the batter, not sit on top, but not be so drippy watery that it is just wet. Got that? Your test ring will help you. Either add a bit more flour or more milk to get it right.
  5. Then continue on frying, removing rings as they are done and depositing them on a jelly roll pan lined with paper towel and covered with a cooling rack. Place in a 250° oven to keep warm and crisp until ready to eat.

Serves: 4

Note: I use two wooden skewers. One to fish out the onion ring from the batter and drop it in the oil, and another to turn it over and fish it out of the oil. This makes the process ever so less messy. No hands, no gummy mess with a pair of tongs.

Also, adjust seasonings as you desire. The cayenne is optional of course.

Caramelized Pearls

I just love these onions. They are so sweet and succulent.

They are also a pain to fix. So I tend to make them at holidays.

Do yourself a favor and prepare them for cooking the day before. You won’t have the patience for it on the big day.

It’s really not that bad.

You know how sometimes you get frustrated with peeling an onion where the papery skin won’t slide off, and you just take a whole good layer and get on with it?

Well pearls are awfully little, and if you do that, you won’t have much left. So don’t do that!

I’ve come upon a decent way to clean them without too much of a rise in blood pressure.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag of pearl onions (about 20-25 in a bag)
  • 3 tbsp butter or oil, or combination

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut off just the very top of the tip end, (NOT the root), and lightly score down the side to the root without slicing into the next layer.
  2. When all are done, place in boiling water for no more than 30 seconds. Have a slotted spoon ready to pull them out. Let them cool, and you should be able to remove the papery outer layer fairly easily. Store in a plastic bag until ready to cook.
  3. Melt the butter in a saute pan and place onions in the pan on medium heat, shaking the pan often to roll them around. Once browned nicely, reduce to lower heat and continue until done and nicely soft. Shake pan now and again to keep from burning. This will take between 30-45 minutes normally.

Serves: 4

Do My Biddin’ Pot Roast

You know the drill, put the roast in the roaster, add some stock, cook until ? and then add carrots, onions and potatoes at the right time ? and hope everything is done to the right level at the same time.

Well this is a no fail, always turns out right, recipe. And once your significant other has tried it once, you will get you way in anything with just a promise to make it again. Nothing hard about this at all.

Are you ready to be the queen of your domain?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 lb pot roast, your favorite cut
  • salt and pepper
  • a stalk of celery and one carrot  and 1 small onion
  •  1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 red wine
  • 4-5 potatoes
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 5TBSP butter divided 3 and 2
  • 3TBSP flour
  • 2 c beef stock (unsalted preferred)
  • 1/4 c cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Salt and pepper the roast and brown in a large saute pan. Brown the edges by holding the meat upright with tongs.
  2. Remove roast to a large piece of heavy-duty foil. Add the celery, carrot and onion, roughly cut up. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and wine. Fold up the foil and seal the roast very tightly. Place in a roasting pan and set in preheated 425° oven. Roast for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  3. About 1 hour before roast is done, peel onion and cut into six wedges. Clean the carrots and cut so they are approximately same size as onion pieces. Place in plastic bag with 1 TBSP oil (canola). When it is 45 before dinner, place on parchment paper on a jelly roll pan and pour out the veggies, spreading around so they aren’t touching. Move the roast aside and slide in the veggies to roast. Turn once at the half way point.
  4. One half hour before dinner, peel and place cut up potatoes in water and cook until tender. Drain.
  5. While potatoes are boiling, take saute pan that you browned the roast in. Add three TBSP of butter and melt, adding 3 TBSP of flour. Whisk together and cook for a minute. Add the beef stock. Bring to  a slow boil until thick. Turn down to very low.
  6. Fifteen minutes before dinner at the 1 hour 45 minute time, remove roast and open CAREFULLY. Remove meat to a platter and cover with another piece of foil to rest. Carefully pour off the juices from the foil into the gravy already prepared. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Mash potatoes, add 2 TBSP butter and the cream, blend.
  8. Remove the veggies from the oven.
  9. Serve it all up and go to heaven!

This should serve 4 easily.

Total Time: approximately 2 hours