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Joy of Cooking Recipe: Creamed Pearl Onions

JOY04_400Who says Thanksgiving has to be all about the turkey? Try this recipe for a truly memorable side dish that will hold its own on any holiday menu.

*Serves 6 to 8

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Drop into a large saucepan half-filled with cold water:
1 pound pearl onions
Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions. Cut off the tip end and pop the onions out of their skins, then return to the boiling water.
Alternatively, you can purchase peeled, frozen pearl onions. In either case, simmer the peeled onions until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving ⅓ cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer the onions to a shallow greased 2-quart baking dish.
Melt in a small saucepan over medium heat:
2 tablespoons butter
Stir in:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until fragrant but not colored, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved cooking liquid, along with:
1 cup half-and-half or milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black or white pepper
(⅛ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg)
Bring to simmer and cook, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Pour the mixture over the onions and sprinkle with:
1 cup shredded Gruyère, Comté, or Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
Bake until bubbly and well-browned on top, about 30 to 45 minutes. If you use a broiler-safe dish, you can brown the top under the broiler.

Image courtesy of John Becker

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