This little dish and I go way back. I don't remember the exact year, but dates aren't important when it comes to love. Yes, it's true. I love these creamed onions and mushrooms. I know it's kind of a weird to have emotions for food, but I'm a weird person and putting emotions into food is part of what makes me love food even more. Not only is this dish filled with emotions of love, it's also filled with emotions of happiness and memories. Growing up, we always spent Thanksgiving at my Grandparent's house. I don't remember the details, I don't even remember which family members were always there, but I remember my Grandfather's stuffing (a French recipe from his family, made with sausage and chicken liver...it was the one time I would make an exception for eating liver because this stuff was to-die for!), and these creamed onions and mushrooms that my Grandmother would make. They were, hands down, my two favorite items at the Thanksgiving table. Every year, when the holidays roll around, I can't help but crave them. In my world, no Thanksgiving table is complete without either. Last year was the first time I had been to Thanksgiving at my Grandmother's in a while. So many things have changed (my Grandfather's stuffing recipe is, sadly, long gone), but her creamed onions had not. Despite being 95 years-old (yes, she still cooks for herself every day!) they were just as good as the ones I remember from childhood. Mine don't taste nearly as delicious, but if I'm cooking as long as she is, I have a lot of Thanksgivings to practice.....
CREAMED ONIONS+ MUSHROOMS
- 1 lb fresh (or 16 oz frozen bag) pearl onions (see notes)
- 1 1/2 cups (about 5 oz.) of sliced mushrooms
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1/3 cup of water (see notes)
- 1/2 cup milk (2% recommended; see notes)
- 1/2 cup half & half (see notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of thyme, tarragon, or Herbs de Provence
- 2 tablespoons of dry sherry
In a medium-large saucepan, set over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and sauté the sliced mushrooms until they are golden brown, about 5-7 minutes (if the mushrooms start to stick at any point just add a little more butter). Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside in a small dish.
Using the same saucepan, add the pearl onions and 1/3 cup of water and let simmer over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Remove water and onions separately and set each aside. (This step can also be complete in a separate saucepan while the mushrooms are cooking.)
Next, melt the 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the same pan. Once melted, turn down the heat to low and add in the flour, whisking the butter and flour together creating a rue-like mixture. Keeping the pan on low heat, add back in the 1/3 cup of water, as well as the milk, half & half, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and thyme. Keep stirring until mixture thickens (feel free to add cornstarch or more flour if it's not thickening....I would recommend adding the flour about 1/2 tbsp. at a time, stirring and waiting a few minutes to see if it thickens more before adding additional flour).
Once stirred together, add back in the 16 oz of cooked pearl onions and the sautéed mushrooms to the pan, slowly stirring so the onions and mushrooms get coated in the gravy mixture. Add in the sherry, once again mixing all ingredients together.
Let simmer, on low heat, on the stove top, or if made in oven-safe pan, place in oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. I typically let this simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- This dish can be made in advance, which makes it great for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other holiday dinners. You can either prepare the entire dish a day in advance, then store it in the fridge, in the pan with the lid on and then just reheat it for about 15 minutes prior to serving, or you can make this the morning of your big meal and allow it to simmer either on low heat on the stove or in a crockpot set to low heat.
- For the onions, I use a bag found in the frozen section of Trader Joe's. You can also found them in the produce section and peel them yourself (something I do not recommend) or you can find them in jars. If you use jarred onions, simply use the liquid they come in instead of boiling them in water.
- For the milk and half & half, you can use all milk (2% is best, as you want a creamy texture), all half & half, or you can use a mixture of 50% heavy cream, 50% water, or a combination of any of the three. For me, I typically base this on what I have in the fridge at the time, which usually tends to be milk and heavy cream.
- You can substitute port for the sherry.