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.
By Stacey Hirvela, Spring Meadow Nursery
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners/ColorChoice Shrubs
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