Southern cooking is renowned for its soulful and delicious dishes, and Tennessee Onions are no exception. This recipe takes the humble onion and transforms it into a cheesy, savory side dish that’s perfect for complementing a wide range of main courses. If you’re a fan of southern flavors, you’re in for a treat as we delve into this mouthwatering recipe.
A Southern Side Worth Savoring
Tennessee Onions are a delightful twist on the traditional onion side dish. By combining sweet onions with a rich and flavorful cheese mixture, this recipe creates a side dish that’s both comforting and satisfying. Whether you’re serving it with grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or as a topping for baked potatoes, Tennessee Onions add a burst of flavor to your table.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Before we dive into the cooking instructions, gather these simple ingredients:
- 2 large sweet onions (such as Vidalia)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Now, let’s get started with the step-by-step instructions.
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Begin by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C). This ensures that it’s ready to bake your Tennessee Onions to perfection.
Step 2: Preparing the Onions
- Peel the sweet onions and cut them into thick slices, approximately 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) thick.
- Separate the onion slices into rings and arrange them in a single layer in a baking dish.
Step 3: Creating the Cheesy Topping
- In a small bowl, combine the shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, paprika, and season with salt and pepper to taste. This mixture is what will give your onions that delightful cheesy flavor.
Step 4: Adding the Topping
- Spoon the cheese mixture evenly over the onion slices, ensuring that they are well covered with the flavorful topping.
Step 5: Baking Your Tennessee Onions
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. This initial baking period allows the onions to begin softening.
- After 25 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the onions are tender, and the top is golden and bubbling.
Step 6: Adding a Finishing Touch
- If desired, garnish your Tennessee Onions with chopped fresh parsley before serving. This not only adds a touch of color but also infuses the dish with a subtle herbaceous flavor.
Step 7: Serve and Savor
- Serve your Tennessee Onions hot as a savory side dish. They pair wonderfully with grilled steaks, roasted chicken, or even as a topping for baked potatoes.
Variations and Serving Suggestions
- Bacon Bliss: For an extra layer of flavor, consider sprinkling crispy bacon bits on top of the cheesy mixture before baking.
- Herb Infusion: Add fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or chives to the cheese mixture for a herb-infused twist.
- Spicy Kick: If you enjoy a touch of heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a spicy version of Tennessee Onions.
Q1: Can I use regular onions instead of sweet onions?
A1: While sweet onions like Vidalia are ideal for this recipe due to their mild and sweet flavor, you can use regular onions if that’s what you have on hand. However, they may have a stronger and sharper taste.
Q2: How can I make this dish ahead of time?
A2: You can prepare the cheese mixture and slice the onions in advance, keeping them separately. Just before serving, combine them and bake as directed. This ensures that the onions stay crisp and fresh.
Q3: Can I make a larger batch for a crowd?
A3: Absolutely! This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled to serve a larger group. Use a bigger baking dish or multiple dishes to accommodate the extra portions.