You will have to excuse the terrible photos. It wasn't until I uploaded all of my Christmas pics from this year that I realized how much steam was floating around the kitchen. Most of my "in-progress" shots of everything were obstructed. I'll have to remember to swap out the pics for new ones when I make this again ... which should be soon, given how good they were! It worked out perfectly for me - I'm not a big gravy person, but my brother-in-law likes a gravy of some sort on just about everything. Half the time, gravy doesn't even cross my mind, so at the last minute, I'll think to mention it to my sister in case she wants to throw something together. With these onions, neither of us had to make gravy - it was built right in!! Kind of a cross between a Beef Jus and a French Onion Soup.
It was two or three years ago when I first heard of cipollini onions. On an episode of Giada's Weekend Getaways, one of the items featured was Vanilla Potatoes with Cipollini Onions. It sounded great, but not one of us liked it! Since then, I have noticed the cipollinis at the grocery store off and on and have wanted to try them in a different application. That brings us to Pinterest! I came across a pin of a recipe for Cipollini in Agrodolce ... Sweet and Sour Onions by Lindaraxa. You should definitely make a point of spending some time wandering around her blog.
In any event, having just seen cipollini at one of the local markets, I added the recipe to my Christmas menu, but of course when I made my big Christmas grocery shopping trip, they didn't have them anymore! I had to make do with pearl onions, and as much as I liked this dish with the pearls, I'm looking forward to making it again with the cipollini.
Because of my brother-in-law's love of gravy, I tweaked the recipe just a bit to make it a little richer for him. I added the cornstarch, additional butter, and the bouillon cube.
2 lb cipollini or pearl onions
2 c beef stock
6 T butter
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 T sugar
1 beef bouillon cube
1 T cornstarch
Blanch the onions in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
Slice off the root ends and the skins should easily slip off.
Over medium heat, cover and cook the onions with the beef broth and butter for 20-30".
Add the vinegar, sugar, bouillon cube, and several cranks of fresh cracked pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and a bit of water to create a slurry, then pour into the pot and bring up to a boil to slightly thicken.
After it boils for a minute or two, pop the top back on, reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking until tender.
I served the onions over a Dijon-Crusted Roast Beef - that odd looking thing on the right would be some of that crust. The rest of our Christmas dinner this year consisted of Pilaf with Spinach and Onions; Kale with Caramelized Shallots, Cranberries and Almonds; Roasted Beets with Orange-Honey Butter and Chives; and my sister's rendition of a Green Bean Casserole (MUCH better than the original!).
No need to wait for Roast Beef night for these babies. Make up a batch the next time you have steaks or even a roasted chicken. You won't regret it!
So, what did you all have for Christmas dinner this year? Any particular family traditions you adhere to? I started tackling Christmas dinner a few years back, and we all kind of settled on a beef dish of some sort. Aside from that and Pilaf, everything else is up for grabs. It's when it comes time for dessert that everyone has their favorites or what they consider traditional for Christmas.