When I was a kid, either creamed peas or creamed pearl onions were on the menu now and then, especially at Grandma’s house. Honestly, I wonder if they were the ones that used to come in the box, frozen. They were often served with Salmon Loaf, so when I reworked Grandma’s recipe into Not Grandma’s Salmon Loaf, I thought I’d better address the Creamed Peas & Pearl Onions, too.
As a kid, I’d push the peas and or onions aside and just eat the sauce! To this day, I’m not sure how I got by with that, but I had a hatred of peas that lasted a lifetime. Until I made an effort to eat them as an adult (ok, just a few years ago) and found out they’re not so bad, after all. Especially when they’re in this lovely cream sauce which def a HUGE step up from the frozen boxed stuff. Hey, all I am sayin’ is give peas a chance!
About Creamed Peas & Pearl Onions:
Although they’re easy quick enough to make, Creamed Peas & Pearl Onions really aren’t your everyday ol’ Tuesday night dinner fare; at least not for me when weeknights are usually quick and simple w/o a lot of extra steps.
But they are a great side for anything plain (and they were just the thing for that Not Grandma’s Salmon Loaf) and really read as something special if you want to trot them out for company or a holiday like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.
These are very good with a cream sauce made with milk, but for a special occasion, I can’t resist a touch of cream added at the end. It takes these Creamed Peas & Pearl onions to a whole ‘nuther level – just a good drizzle of cream when they’re finished makes them rich without being too too over the top decadent!
Making Creamed Peas & Pearl Onions:
The onions in this recipe really need a head start so they’re soft and luscious and just right when everything else is ready. I like to toss them in the skillet with some butter and a little water and lid them. When the water is evaporated the onions should be just about done and glazed with butter. If they’re not done to your liking add a bit more water and keep cooking them.
The rest is a cinch. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook a minute to lose that floury taste add the milk in increments as you whisk. It’s nice to have whisk with tines that are close together so the onions don’t all clump inside it. The peas don’t take long to cook, so toss them in as the sauce just starts to thicken. As far as the peas, you can add a cup or two, maybe even a few more if you want. It just depends how many peas you want and what your perfect pea to sauce ratio is.
I purposely wrote the recipe so that when the peas are done, the sauce is a little on the thick side – that gives you room to thin with milk if you’d like or to add some cream for richness. Just know that how thick the sauce is in the pan is a little deceiving. Once the Creamed Peas & Pearl Onions cool from molten hot, it thickens so you’ll want to err on the thin side. If you reheat this, do so very gently or it can thin out.
Saving Money on Creamed Peas & Pearl Onions:
While there are some frozen veggies that are just not that great, both frozen peas and pearl onions are some that I use pretty regularly. The both compare price wise to fresh very well and they’re both such a time saver. I’ve never shucked my own peas, but I do know that preparing and peeling those pearl onions is a pain!
Watch for frozen vegetables on sale, especially in the fall when the prices are usually lowest (harvest in, warehouses full) and stock up your freezer with frozen vegetables you use; just don’t go overboard. You’ll find prices on frozen veggies rise through the winter and into spring and summer but there will be good sales pretty regularly, often with coupons, if you use them.
For basic items like flour, butter, and cream, you really can’t beat Aldi where regular prices usually beat out grocery store sale prices. No Aldi? Get in the habit of shopping holiday sales. Stock up on butter during the winter holidays and before Easter and freeze. Buy cream during holidays if you use it; with the high-fat content, it keeps for weeks. Strategically place the most money on items when they are at the best prices.
Creamed Peas & Pearl Onions
- 8 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed if possible
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 2 cups frozen peas
- enough milk get to the desired consistency
- cream, to enrichen, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
Using a large, 12″ inch skillet, add onions, butter, and water. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer stirring now and then until onions are just soft and water evaporated. If onions aren’t soft when the water is gone, add a little more, tablespoon by tablespoon. If onions are soft and there is still water, remove lid and let excess evaporate.
Add flour, sprinkling over the onions and butter, stir and cook for a minute or two so the flour will lose any raw taste. Add the milk in increments, whisking after each, then bring to a simmer, stirring often. As the mixture just begins to thicken add the peas and continue to cook until the mixture reaches the desired consistency and peas are cooked through, three to five minutes.
Adjust the thickness of the cream sauce by adding more milk or enrichen, if desired by a good drizzle of cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.