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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Sriracha shrimp

I have a new food crush on SheSimmers. Not only is the author’s website drool-worthy, the recipes are easy to follow, delicious and good enough for company. We recently tried the Sriracha shrimp recipe with a few modifications.

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons Rooster Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • one pound of shrimp
  • one medium onion (we used Vidalia Onions), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until the onion is tender-crisp. Mix the Rooster sauce and the sugar, set aside. Add one pound of large peeled and deveined shrimp (21-25 count) to the pan and add the Rooster sauce mixture, stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium for 6-7 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked. If the liquid is thin or there is too much liquid, remove the shrimp from the pan and reduce the sauce down to desired consistency. Serve over warm jasmine rice (this part is important!). This makes enough for two hungry people.

My Opinion: Just the right amount of sweet heat. Honestly, the onions were the best part. This dish is a sure-fire way to kick a summer cold.

Homemade Gray’s Papaya Hot Dogs

On our recent trip to NYC, J and I had a culinary tour of the city fueled by recommendations by forum community members on ChowHound. One of the recommendations was for Gray’s Papaya and didn’t let us down. In fact, we liked it so much, we scoured the internet when we got home to find a recipe for the onion sauce. After a few trial and errors, we found this one on noshcookbook.com. It’s practically perfect!

Ingredients:
1-2 Vidalia onions, sliced (we used a mandolin)
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons butter for sauteing onions.
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lite corn syrup
1 teaspoon cornstarch
few dashes of salt
1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
couple of turns of fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic

Directions:
In a frying pan over medium-high heat melt butter and saute’ onions and garlic with a few dashes of salt and turns of fresh ground black pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Once caramelized, add the rest of the ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened.

My opinion:
The ideal hot dog to use is Nathan’s, but living in the Midwest, they are hard to come by. A really, really close option is Oscar Mayer New York Style hot dogs. With the onion sauce, it’s so close to the original that if I close my eyes, I could be in NYC.