What’s there not to like about a sweet onion, bacon and butter? Nothing that I can think of other than the fat in the bacon and butter. A lot of the fat melted off into the bottom, so what you’re left with after baking an hour is a succulent onion with some delicious snippets of bacon to eat alongside it.
Again this year our friends Joan and Tom shared some of their Noonday onions from East Texas. Tom’s parents send a shipment to all of their kids each summer. This year’s crop was smaller-sized than in some years – about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter I’d guess, but it made for a really nice onion portion.
Just recently I started watching Trisha Yearwood on the Food Network. I just read on Trisha’s website that her cooking series has been “picked up” for a season, so there will be more than the initial 6 episodes already aired. Besides being a terrific singer (although I’m not into country music at all), she is a really good cook. She’s married to Garth Brooks and they live in Oklahoma. I’ve printed out half a dozen of her recipes so far. This is the first one I’ve actually prepared, though. She had her Uncle Wilson visit the show one episode and he made one of the family favs, these onions that make an appearance at every family gathering. And they’re easy to make. Truly they are. The recipe is from Trisha’s 2008 cookbook, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours.
The most tedious part was peeling the onions. Since this recipe calls for sweet onions, I didn’t want to lose any more of them than absolutely necessary, so I didn’t peel off another layer like I would normally just to get it done in a hurry. Then you hollow out a cone-shaped core, about 1-inch down – easy to do with a short, pointed paring knife. The onions get wrapped in a couple of slices of bacon, secured with toothpicks, then a pat of butter is put into the little hole. They’re wrapped in foil, leaving an opening for the steam to escape, then they’re grilled for an hour. Or baked at 350° for an hour. Be sure to remove the toothpicks, then either serve them whole, or cut them in quarters (if they’re large) and serve with the bacon. I think if they’re really large, they’d need to oven bake for more than an hour – at least 15 minutes longer. But test them with the tip of a sharp knife to make sure they’re done. Sweet onions contain more water than traditional onions, so they should cook in less time.
In the recipe Trisha suggests cutting the onions in quarters to serve them – depending on how big they are, cutting in half might be fine, or in my case I served a whole onion per person. There were lots of juices in the bottom of the foil packet – some of it water from the onion itself, some bacon fat, and probably some of the butter, although I’d hoped it would stay housed in the onion layers. No matter, as the onions were delicious. Juicy, moist, and so very good with a little bite of bacon with each mouthful. I forgot to salt and pepper them, but it made no difference whatsoever. We didn’t miss the sodium or the pepper. Next time I might add some dried thyme into the hole, since that’s my favorite go-to herb. They also re-heat well in the microwave (take off the foil, obviously).
What I liked: how easy they were to make. The juiciness of the onion, and the smoky taste the bacon added. Altogether good. Yes, I’d make it again.
What I didn’t like: nothing. I’ll be sad when I can’t find sweet onions to make this with, though!
Uncle Wilson’s Grilled Onions
Recipe By: From Trisha Yearwood on Food Network
Source: Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking from an Oklahoma Kitchen
Serving Size: 12
NOTES: If onions are smaller, use less bacon (about 1 1/2 slices per onion) and secure with 3 toothpicks if needed.
6 large sweet onions — such as Vidalia, Walla Walla, or Texas Noonday
12 strips bacon
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
1. Peel and wash the onions. With the point of a small, sharp knife, cut a 1-inch core from the top of each onion and make shallow slits in a circle around the top. Wrap 2 slices of bacon horizontally around each onion, and secure them with toothpicks. Push toothpicks deep into onion. Put 1 teaspoon of butter in each core. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Place each onion on a square of aluminum foil and bring the edges together at the top, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Put the foil-wrapped onions on the grill and cook for 1 hour, or until the onions are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. You can also bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool the onions for a few minutes then unwrap, REMOVE TOOTHPICKS and cut into quarters to serve.
Per Serving: 74 Calories; 5g Fat (61.0% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 11mg Cholesterol; 122mg Sodium.