Onions Celeste was a dish my mother made when I was growing up. It was a family favorite for years and then we eventually moved on. I’m not sure where the original recipe came from my mother was given this recipe from one of her friends. The original recipe called for canned cream of chicken soup. Not too long ago, I took out this recipe to surprise my mother but updated it and it is now once again a family holiday favorite. It satisfies my desire for creamed onions but with much less work. Mom was thrilled to enjoy an old favorite ! It’s a perfect side dish for holiday entertaining. Give this yummy retro classic a try!
From by the bay, wishing you celestial food memories!
4 oz chopped pancetta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large red onions, sliced thinly
8 oz grated gruyere cheese
1 recipe béchamel sauce ( approximately 1 ½ cups)
8 slices buttered toasted French bread
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat cook the pancetta until crispy. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. In the same pan heat the butter and sauté onion until soft and starts to caramelize which would be about 20 to 30 minutes. Spoon the onions into a butter baking dish 8” by 8” along with the pancetta. Pour the béchamel sauce over the onions , add the cheese and stir. Top with the buttered toast and bake in a 350F oven for approximately 25 minutes. You can also prepare this recipe up to a day in advance and refrigerate without the buttered toast. Bring to room temperature and top with toast and place into the oven.
Makes 1 ½ cups
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
In a medium sauce pan add the milk and heat until it is about to boil. While the milk is heating, in another sauce pan , heat the butter until melted. Add the flour and mix until smooth. Cook the mixture for about 5-6 minutes until it becomes a golden color. Slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture whisking continuously. Bring to a boil and then cook for another 10 -15 minutes continuing to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add the salt and nutmeg.