My mother loved onions and served them with almost every meal when I was a child, so needless to say, I always have onions around to cook and serve, too. But what could be better than raw sweet onions? That is an easy answer- caramelized sweet onions layered with cream sauce, cheese and French bread. Enjoy these tasty and beautiful onions in a bowl as a thick onion soup, or have it on a plate as a side dish.
Caramelized Onion Soup Casserole
1-1/2 to 2 pounds sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small thyme sprig
1 (8-ounce package) grated Swiss or Gruyère cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
2 teaspoons beef granules or 2 beef boullion cubes (use chicken if you like)
½ cup half and half or cream
4 cups French bread cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add thyme sprig and onions and sauté until onions have caramelized to a golden brown color. Remove and discard the woody thyme stems. Place the onions in a 1 ½ quart shallow casserole dish. Add the Swiss cheese to the top of the onions.
Roux: In the same skillet used for the onions, add the butter and olive oil and cook until bubbly. Add the flour and stir or whisk for 1-2 minutes to let the flour cook. Add the chicken broth, beef granules, and half and half as well as any salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes.
Pour on top of the onion, cheese mixture.
Topping: Toss the bread cubes in olive oil or melted butter. Put on a baking sheet and bake until crisp. Remove from the baking sheet and add to the top of the onion casserole. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly in the center. Broil to toast bread cubes if needed. Serves 4.
Spring ephemerals are some of the first plants to flower in the early spring long before most trees leaf out. They tend not to like the heat and will quickly disappear if temperatures get above 80 degrees. Spring ephemerals leaf out, bloom, go to seed, spread themselves about and then enter dormancy; they don't really die. All this happens in a two-month period, making them some of the most efficient of the flowering plants. That is what makes these plants so very special.
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