My father, who is the cook in our family, does not like onions. AT ALL. And so my sister and I grew up with nary an allium in sight. Which of course made onions all the more beguiling, the forbidden fruit—or plant—whose name we dare not speak. And so it will be quietly that I introduce a gorgeous bowl of Glazed Pearl Onions in Port with Bay Leaves at our Thanksgiving table this year. The recipe ran in Bon Appétit a couple years ago and has been cunningly tempting me ever since. I made a test-run for dinner tonight, served alongside a pan-fried pork chop, and let me tell you the fall from grace is worth every bite. The port-balsamic glaze is nothing short of heavenly and will add a bright note to all the earthy and comforting flavors at Thursday’s table. It was also quite, quite good drizzled on a pork chop.
The comments on the recipe all say that the flavors continue to develop over a day or two, so I’ll be making another batch tomorrow for Thursday’s feast. You do have to carve out a bit of time. First the onions soak in hot water for an hour before you peel them.
Oh, and I used red pearl onions instead of white simply because they have a slightly milder flavor plus I thought they were prettier. After they’ve soaked and the skins have been peeled, the onions simmer in port and broth with bay leaves for half an hour.
And then the onions rest while the sauce is reduced to a glaze. Total time commitment is a little over two hours from start to finish (including soaking and peeling, which is something of a pain), but if the payoff is worth the effort.