Summertime in Georgia means one thing for sure, the arrival of sweet Vidalia Onions. Almost indistinguishable from a regular yellow onion, these Vidalias get their sweet taste from being grown in our red, Georgia clay, which is low in sulfur. Just as true Champagne can only be found from its namesake region in France, Vidalia Onion production is limited to certain counties in the state.
Once they hit the market, I buy them by the bagful, taking them home to store over the summer and fall. I love to cut one up every week, caramelizing them on low heat in a pan to sprinkle on everything from salad and baked potatoes to burgers and veggie sides. Last year, because I had so many on hand, I decided to throw them into a Vidalia Onion Bake.
The dish is a wonderful cheesy confection that would go well with grilled food and BBQ, as well as Tex-Mex. It feeds a big crowd and is perfect for summer get-togethers. Despite the onions being sweet, the dish tastes savory with the addition of spices and cheese.
I hope you can find Vidalias in a market near you to give this one a try. It’s the perfect way to celebrate spring in my opinion!
Vidalia Onion Bake
2 Tablespoons of Butter
2 large Vidalia Onions, peeled and chopped
3 Cups of Brown Rice, cooked
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Allspice
Pinch of Cayenne
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 or 2 Jalapeño Peppers, de-veined and diced
2 Cups of Sour Cream
8 oz. of Muenster Cheese, shredded
Salt to taste
¼ Cup of Cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large skillet, melt the Butter on low. Add in the Onions and stir occasionally until they have softened.
In a large bowl, mix together the Rice, Cumin, Allspice, Cayenne, Garlic, Jalapeno, Sour Cream, and 1 Cup of the Cheese. Add the softened Onions into the mixture, making sure everything is incorporated. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 inch casserole dish, even it out, and top with the remaining Cheese.
Bake the dish for 30 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the cheese has browned on top. Serve immediately, topped with Cilantro.