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.
Every year, I challenge myself as a gardener to grow something I've never grown before and this year was no exception. As a professional garden writer, I was privileged to be given several exciting new varieties to trial. Additionally, in my travels this year, I had the chance to evaluate many more new plants in trial gardens across the country. The following new annuals, which will be new at retail in Spring 2017, received top ratings in my book.
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