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Choosing a menu that's both delicious and easy to prepare is important for holiday hosts. An appetizer, main course and dessert should involve careful consideration of the time it takes to prepare each course. The following recipe for "Caramelized Onion Shells" from A.J. Rathbun's "Party Snacks!" (Harvard Common Press) is a delicious appetizer that's also easy to prepare.
Caramelized Onion Shells
Makes 12 Shells
3 large sweet onions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese,
at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 puff pastry shells
1. Cut the onions in half from the stem end down through the root end. Cut each half into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
2. Put the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to combine. Once the butter has bubbled, add the brown sugar. Stir well for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar has melted.
3. Add the onions to the skillet and stir well (it wil be a big pile at first) to coat all the onions. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking the onions for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking, until they're golden brown.
4. Put the cream cheese, sour cream, pepper, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Add the cooled onions and stir until well combined. Cover and put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Thaw the puff pastry shells according to package directions.
6. Place the shells on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes -- they should puff up. Fill the shells with the onion mixture and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, checking to make sure the filling is warmed through before serving.