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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Onions important ingredient

The Holy Trinity of Louisiana cooking: Onions, Celery and Bell Pepper. It’s the base of most Creole and Cajun dishes. Over the next few weeks, I will be highlighting these important ingredients. Today we will start with onions.

You will find a variety of onions at the store. The first question is, which one should I use. For most of your cooking, you will reach for the yellow onion. They hold up the best when cooking and is the default onion for most cooked dishes. The white onion has a stronger, spicier, more pungent flavor than yellow onions. They don’t hold up as well as yellow onions when cooked. Red or purple onions are less overpowering that white or yellow onions. This makes them ideal for recipes that use raw onions. The sweet onion can be used like yellow onions. It just has a sweeter flavor to them. Last is the shallot. It is mild, a cross between a yellow and red onion. They are great for cooking and has a milder onion flavor.

I have two recipes today. The first is good with yellow or sweet onions, Creole Onion Soup. The second uses a different variety, Duck with Satsuma and Red Onion. Grab your onions and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Creole Onion Soup

French onion soup is a classic. Sometimes, it’s fun to put a spin on an iconic dish. The addition of the tomato sauce adds a Creole flare to this soup.

1 loaf French bread

1/2 stick butter

1 yellow onion, sliced thinly

1 red onion, sliced thinly

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

21 ounces beef stock

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Heat oven to 325 ℉.

Slice bread one inch thick and place on rack in the oven; remove bread when golden brown. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onions in butter, stirring, until golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle in flour, pepper, garlic powder, and Creole seasoning over onions and continue to cook until flour is golden brown as well. Stir in tomato sauce and soy sauce. Cook one minute more. Stir in the beef broth and simmer 10 minutes, or until onions reach the desired consistency. Pour soup into ovenproof bowls. Place a piece of French bread in each bowl and top with Swiss cheese. When cheese has melted, serve at once.

Duck with Satsuma and Red Onion

Here’s a take on smothered chicken. Replacing the chicken with duck gives a perceived gourmet touch to the dish. The sauce works great for both duck and chicken.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, divided

2 (6 ounce) duck breast

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 satsumas, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup sherry or cooking sherry

3/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1 1/2 cup hot cooked white rice

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter on medium-high heat until butter just begins to brown. Add duck, skin side down, and cook until skin is browned, about 4 minutes. Turn duck, add onion, and cook until onions are just soft, about 2 minutes. Add satsumas and stock and cover. Bring to a simmer, and cook until duck is medium-rare or until an instant thermometer registers 135℉, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove duck and increase heat to high. Add sherry and boil until sauce thickens, about 12 minutes. Add remixing tablespoon of butter and creole seasoning. Spoon rice onto plates and top with duck. Pour satsuma, onion and sauce over duck.

Next up in our series is celery. Celery is also found, as is the onion, in the French Trinity, the mirepoix. I will talk more about that when we get to the bell peppers. Until then, Good Cooking! Good Eating! Good Living!

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