Are you thoroughly immersed in the hustle and bustle?! Have you exhausted every ounce of energy on Christmas shopping, home decorating, cookie baking, gift wrapping and card writing?! Because if so, you’ve done it right! Holidays are so delightful and exciting, but they are also stressful, tiring and downright challenging at times. SO!! If you are down to the nitty gritty of getting it all done, and preparing the last bit of Christmas cheer that you can squeeze out of December, let me swoop in and help you with one mere little task: a recipe to conclude your Christmas menu planning. I know, I know, of all the things we have on our holiday list, the dinner STILL has to be planned, and there are still a couple holes in what is to be made on the eve of December 25th. Do not fret my friend, I have the perfect recipe for you, and it is soooo easy. In fact, the recipe I have entails you peeling onions, however, there is a very good chance that you can find already peeled onions from your local grocer, (Enter: Trader Joes), which means all you have to make is the sauce, and voila! Easy peasy, buttercup! This is a recipe that has been in my family for years, and never fails to be a crowd pleaser. So, whether you need a last minute recipe, are looking for a good story to read, or just need a quick break from present wrapping to breathe and reboot, read on, my little elf. Grab a cocktail and spend a couple minutes with me, won’t you?
My absolute favorite holiday recipe is ‘Pearl onions with Cream Sauce’, not only because they are DELICIOUS, but, because of the memories they hold for my family and me. It was my Grandmother’s recipe, and a joint effort between her and my Grandfather in making the recipe come to fruition. My Grandma, (Eleanor) would send my Grandpa, (Charles) out to the porch with a sharp knife to peel and de-root the boiled onions, while she was inside, concocting the cream sauce and all of the wonderfulness that goes into the recipe, along with preparing the entirety of Christmas dinner. I can still remember all of us kids watching Grandpa sitting in his wooden chair out on the stoop, two bowls in front of him; one for the peels, one for the onions. His big calloused hands from being a woodworker, busily cutting of the ends of the pearls, and carefully stripping off the outer layers of the delicate little onions. I can still hear the holiday music echoing from inside the house, and smell the delicious food being prepared by my Grandma. The voice of my retired Navy Grandfather replays in my mind, of him explaining every step to my sisters and brother and me, observing the details of what he was doing, as he took little sips of his Old Fashioned along the way. Our little preadolescent minds were in awe that such a large and hearty man could do such an intricate act with his mighty hands, as peeling little itty bitty baby onions! It just didn’t make sense, however, all was still right in the world. If Grandpa said this was what is to be done, who were we to argue?! When the onions were all well and tailored, he would bring them inside to my Grandma, and she would add them to her homemade bechamel sauce, and (GASP!), let one of US kids stir them into the cream. What a treat! A little taste here, a pinch of salt and a dash of nutmeg there, and finally it was time to eat them in all their delight. We would gather around the beautifully set table, all alit with dripping candles and homemade goodness and everyone would usually begin the once a year meal with the oh so exciting pearl onions that we had all watched, step by step, come to life. You pop one in your mouth and hear the layers all split apart, and grin at the sensation. YUMMMMM! We would all ooooh and ahhhh about how creamy and delicious ‘Grandpa’s onions’ were, and he would blush a little while his eyes twinkled. “And don’t forget to mix in Grandma’s cream sauce with the turkey and stuffing, and get everything combined,” reminded my mom. Oh yes, do not forget that!
Here is a picture of my grandparents on their wedding day, which just so happens to be on December 25th. He was home from the Navy, and Christmas was the one day that they knew they’d be able to say their I dos. Happy anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!
My Grandparents have both passed away since, but their ‘Pearl Onions with Cream Sauce’ is still a part of every holiday meal. Being the only boy to carry on my Grandfathers legacy, my brother Alex is now the master onion peeler. It is always his task to go out to the porch, with two bowls, a sharp knife and tailor those little baby onions with his large hands that he got from my grandpa, with an Old Fashioned to sip on, while my mom or one of us sisters prepares the cream sauce. When we are all gathered around the table, everyone’s favorite thing is still ‘Grandpa’s onions’! We still ooh and ahh, and like clockwork, Alex blushes, just like Grandpa Charles.
- Boil 3- 5 packs of pearl onions for one minute.
- Once cooled, use sharp knife to take off root and outer layer of each onion.
3) Make béchamel sauce using:
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups cream
2 teaspoons salt, ½ tsp. pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Combine all ingredients, in order…
- Add onions to cream sauce and heat through
- Serve immediately
I WISH YOU ALL A VERY MERRY, HAPPY, JOYFUL, GIDDY, YUMMY, COZY HOLIDAY SEASON. Much love to you and yours! Love, Me.