Texas sweet onion casserole

It does not look pretty, but it tastes amazing!
It does not look pretty, but it tastes amazing!

Homesick Texan doesn’t disappoint. This recipe makes both J and I miss Texas sweet 1015 onions terribly. Vidalia onions are good substitutes, but don’t quite have the flavor. Since we can’t find the onions in Mid-Missouri, we had to make a few changes to the recipe, but it still turned out quite well.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2  pounds of your favorite sweet yellow onions if you can’t find Texas sweet 1015 onions. Vidalia onions are a pretty good substitute.
3 cups cooked rice (we used long grain white)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of cayenne (just about 1/4 teaspoon. The heat int he dish comes from the chipotles in adobo)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or a bit more, we often err on the side of more garlic)
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, diced (the original recipe calls for one or two. One just doesn’t seem to get properly dispersed through the dish. We like every bite to have some chipotle chile flavor)
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded Gruyere (8 ounces), divided
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional, but so worth it if you have it)

Directions:
In a large skillet (the original recipe called for cast iron, sadly, ours is a bit too small, so we use the largest skillet we have and then a casserole pan) on low heat melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and while occasionally stirring cook for 10 minutes until soft. Don’t try to caramelize. Stir together the cooked rice, cumin, allspice, cayenne, garlic, chipotle chile, sour cream and 1/2 cup of the Gruyere cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings (we usually add more), then add salt to taste. Original recipe says to add the rice mixture to the skillet and stir until onions are mixed well with the rice, but since our skillet isn’t big enough we combine everything in the casserole dish. Top with the rest of the Gruyere cheese and bake for 30 minutes uncovered or until brown and bubbling. Serve topped with cilantro, it’s worth it.

My opinion:
It’s no secret I don’t love sour cream. It’s a mouth feel thing. But in this dish, it combines wonderfully with the chipotle chiles and cheese. Plus, this dish freezes well and is perfect for a night when neither J or I want to cook.

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Cheesy “Pantelones”

Cheesy Papillons
Cheesy Papillons

These aren’t actually cheesy pants (obviously). When J and I were putting together our Thanksgiving menu, I misread the Cheesy Papillons from this Serious Eats recipe as cheesy pantelones and after laughing until I couldn’t breathe, the name stuck.

Cheesy Papillons are simple, delicious and perfect appetizers. While best right out of the oven, they are just as tasty after they’ve cooled.

Ingredients:
Flour
2 puff pastry sheets (17 ounces total) (We found this hidden in the freezer isle!)
Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon or fleur de sel)
2 cups grated Gruyère (about 6 ounces. My new favorite cheese!)
1/4 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (since we don’t have this glorious spice, we used a substitute of half paprika and half cayenne)

Directions:
Follow the package directions for defrosting the puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Dust the countertop (or the cutting board) with some flour. Unfold the puff pastry, dock lightly with a fork and season with a generous pinch of sea salt. Scatter 1 cup of cheese evenly over the top and use a rolling pin to gently press it into the pastry (this is important to keep the cheese from falling off as you roll). Top with half of the piment d’Espelette. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry and the remaining ingredients.
Use a ravioli cutter (we just used the pizza cutter) to slice the pastry in strips about 1-inch by 3 inches. Twist each strip in the middle to form a bowtie (a bowtie meant the cheese fell out for us, so we rolled into crescents with the cheese on the inside.).
Place strips, spaced out, on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you may need to do this in two batches). Bake until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

My opinion:
So wonderful. I’m glad we had friends over to help me eat these because I would have eaten the whole batch myself.

Butternut Squash with Gruyère

You might have noticed I’ve been on quite a squash kick lately. I’m trying all kinds of different squash types and squash recipes and recently fell in love with this side dish from Shape.com with a few modifications. It’s super easy to make.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash (about 11/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Gruyère (our grater was in the dishwasher so I just sliced it. Trust me, it’s better grated!)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat the oven to 350°F. Prepare the squash: Cut off and discard the stem of squash. Divide squash into two pieces by slicing through it horizontally (use a really sharp knife. It makes it easier). Peel each half with a peeler. Using a spoon (if you have a grapefruit spoon use that), scoop out seeds. Then cut squash into ¾-inch pieces. Place squash slices in a large saucepan, cover them with chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes, then drain. Pour a thin layer of chicken stock on the bottom of a 9″ x 12″ baking dish and alternate layers of squash and Gruyère, saving some cheese for the top. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the remaining chicken stock and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and add remaining cheese. Continue baking until cheese melts and slightly browns, about 10 minutes.

My opinion:
So yummy! I’ve made this several times and each time it gets better.

Pumpkin Soup (Round 2) and Gruyère Toast

We wound up with a couple of cans of left over pumpkin and in the quest for the perfect pumpkin soup, wanted to try a different version. This one is modified from the Mayo Clinic.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (8 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup fat-free milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
5 green onion, green top only, chopped

Directions:
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the remaining pumpkin, broth, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the milk and cook until hot. Don’t boil.

Ladle into warmed individual bowls and garnish with white pepper and green onion tops. Serve immediately.

My opinion:
The happy medium lies in the combination of the last recipe and this one. This was a bit too pumpkin pie in soup form for me.

Now for the best part. The Gruyère Toast. I could eat just this for dinner on a regular basis. Yum!

Ingredients:
french bread loaf, cut into about 3/4 inch slices
Olive oil
Your favorite Gruyère (we like the apple wood smoked), sliced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 450 degrees. brush bread with olive oil. Put in oven until just starting to brown on the top. Take out of oven, flip and add Gruyère. Put back in oven until Gruyère is melted and bread is fully toasted. (Hint: the toasting will take much less time on this side. Try to keep it from burning.)

My opinion:
Like I stated above, I love this toast. It’s great with tomato soup, chicken noodle and just by itself. It will be one of our go to dishes this winter!