Today, onions are generally thought of as a vegetable accompaniment to a main dish, as a relish or a seasoning. But the vegetable can stand alone as a main dish, and open up new frontiers of culinary exploration
by Leon Pantenburg
The main dish was to be “Izzard County Onion Pie” my friend, Gordon A. Cotton announced as he cooked dinner. I prepared for another Southern assault on my Yankee palate. Gordon was director of the Old Court House Museum in Vicksburg, Ms., and has a well-deserved reputation for collecting unique Civil War artifacts, friends and recipes.
I had just moved to Mississippi, and was enjoying the new (to me) cuisine. I loved fried catfish and hushpuppies; biscuits and redeye gravy for breakfast and collard and turnip greens. To my surprise, I enjoyed butter beans and black-eyed peas, and couldn’t get enough of skillet cornbread. It took a lot longer for me to appreciate grits, and I never did like okra, even in gumbo.
But onion pie?
It’s something you gotta try, to appreciate. Onion pie, hot or cold, is one of my favorite southern dishes, and is a guaranteed conversation-starter. And talk about a healthy snack – the pie is delicious cold, just out of the refrigerator.
This is a great way to use up a surplus of onions from the garden, or if you happen to find a good deal at the local farmers market. This recipe can also be made with many of your storage foods.
Izzard County Onion Pie
2 c. sliced onions
4 green onions diced, including the tops
2 Tbs. butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 (9-inch) unbaked pie crusts (Of course, you can make your own!)
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (Can be substituted with dehydrated cheese)
1 egg beaten (Or the equivalent dehydrated eggs)
½ c. milk (Or equivalent dried milk solids)
¼ tsp paprika
2 tsp chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
Sauté onions in butter with salt and pepper to taste. Into pie crust, sprinkle alternate layers of cheese and sautéed onions, beginning and ending with cheese. Beat egg with milk, paprika and parsley. Pour over filling. Place second crust over top, sealing edges with fingers, then slash or puncture top crust in several places with fork or knife. Bake about 40 minutes at 375 degrees until crust is firm and light golden brown. Let cool, then cut into pie-shaped wedges. Serve hot or cold. – Gordon A. Cotton, Vicksburg, Ms.
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