This is a recipe handed down to us by our mom (who got it from a Baptist church cookbook) – you’ll probably be hearing about this lady a lot here. Hmm, wonder why? *wink*
But yes, mom gave me this one as part of a small collection of recipes that she wrote up for me when I got married. She put them on neat little recipe cards and stuck them in a cute little wooden recipe box that I still use after ten years married. Awww.
The recipe traditionally calls for vidalia onions, which are a variety originally grown in a town called Vidalia, Georgia. Which for us is close enough to call local considering we’re only in Alabama and when one considers the scope of the world. They’re even Georgia’s official state vegetable. You can read more on them at this wiki. When you’re done there, you can even visit their official site. They’ve got Shrek and everything.
I love a sweet onion like vidalias because they do exactly what it seems they would when cooked down – they get silkily sweet in taste and texture. Unlike the basic yellow onion, these won’t scream at you and demand attention. Vidalias are demure and, well, sweet little Southern onions. Except that they’ll make you cry like any other onion, so don’t think you’re getting off easy there. They have a season and that time is now. You can get other sweet varieties pretty much year round where we are, varieties that come in from places like Chile. Those are great for other times of the year, but when the fresh vidalias are in, I use those till they disappear from the vegetable bins. They’re usually almost flat in shape, like someone took their hand and squished them, but some will be more rounded like a regular onion
That being said, if you can’t get any sweet variety of onion where you live, just use the whites or yellows. I’ve had to a time or two when I’m craving this recipe out of season and they do well enough. But if you can get the vidalias or other sweet varieties, do give those a try one day as well. I think you’ll enjoy our resident sweeties.
You start with 3-4 humble vidalia onions. Such innocent things.
After you’ve ripped their little skins off and sliced them into thin slivers, your onions are ready to complete their destiny. Sure, it sounds harsh, but they like it, they do.
Here’s how you make it up to them – introduce them to their new friend, Herbs de Provence. Trust me, they’re perfect for one another and will want to go on many play dates hereafter. Turn up the heat and let them just meld into one another.
Engage the services of a tasty uncooked pie crust. Now, I don’t make my own and part of the greatness of this dish is the fact that you can buy pie crusts ready-made to make your life easier, but hey, make your own if you’d like. Just please don’t use those ready-made frozen pie crusts. This dish has a lot of liquid prior to cooking and your crust will get damp enough as a result on the bottom. The frozen pie crusts might have water on them from ice and it’ll make it too mushy while cooking. The Pillsbury ones in the refrigerated section of the store work great.
Introduce your newly acquainted best buds, Vidalia and Herbs de Provence, to their swanky new ride, aka, the pie crust. Nestle the mixture down into the bottom of the crust. Ahhh…now isn’t everyone starting to get, as Emeril says, happy.
Alliances are being struck all over the place today – watch as Evaporated Milk and the Egg quadruplets do their joyous dance. Don’t be afraid to drop in a little of their neighbors, Salt and Pepper, at this point. Or you can do that back when Vidalia and Herbs de Provence meet, but do we really need to interrupt their glorious first meeting?
At this point, Vidalia’s decided to throw a block party and everyone’s just dancing merrily together in one big group. It’s a warrior’s dance. Break dancing and a little hip hop, maybe. Our demure onions are breaking out of their shell! As they…jump into one. Yeah.
The heat was really stoked up by that party and look! Our new pals made us a gift. Yes, it’s a gift of…themselves, but that’s what this was always about. This is where you grab that scary looking knife again and plate, plate, plate.
P.S. I’m sorry to say that this was a looooong day of cooking and I was so exhausted that I completely forgot to take a picture of a slice of this pie for you! Trust me when I say that you’ll want to make this and put it on your taste buds. Your taste buds will love you. It is light, yummy goodness. The onions and eggs and milk and herbs are a great accompaniment to grilled meats, salmon (which I’ve found I like it best with), brats. You name it, it’s going to go well with just about any of your summer dishes. Enjoy!
Herbed Sweet Onion Pie
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 8
- 3-4 vidalia onions, 3 C sliced
- 4 Tbs. margarine or butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 C evaporated milk
- 1 room temperature 9 inch pie crust
- 2 tsp. Herbs de Provence, or to taste
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
Sauté onions in melted butter until tender, over medium-low heat, about 10-15 minutes. Stir often to prevent them from sticking. About halfway through sauteing, add in the Herbs de Provence. The onions will become somewhat transparent, but shouldn’t be browned or burned. Place pie crust in pie plate and crimp edges against the pie plate. Poor onions into pie shell. Beat eggs slightly, then add the milk, salt and pepper and stir. Pour mixture over the onions. Bake at 425º for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Test that it is set by inserting a butter knife. If the knife comes out wet, bake it a little longer until knife comes out clean. You’re done!
Be sure to get your pie crust out of the fridge first so as to give it time to come to room temperature. You’ll need it at room temperature to unroll it and place in in your pie shell.
If you hate crying over onions, put them in the freezer at least 10-15 minutes prior to cutting them. The juices won’t flow as much, which is where the fumes come from that make you cry.
Cooking the onions on a lower heat setting will help them to get tender without burning them. Don’t forget the stirring!
It’s possible there might be more liquid than you need (pie dishes vary in depth after all), so eyeball it and, of course, don’t let the pie plate overflow.
You might want to have your pie plate on a cookie sheet prior to pouring the milk mixture over the onions. Putting the whole thing on a cookie sheet will protect your oven bottom in case the pie overflows while cooking. It never has for me, but precautions are precautions for a reason. Carefully and gently place entire behemoth of a setup into your oven as the pie will be sloshy until cooked.
Allow the pie to cool before serving. It will continue to set more as it cools, and will be more likely to stay in a nice pie shape and not puddle out onto your plate. But if a few slivers of onions do escape, it’s no biggie. Just spear them with your fork and enjoy.