I have to confess. I made this dish for the pure and simple reason that I found a couple of bags of peas in the freezer and a bunch of leftover pearl onions from a potato dish I recently made. If you know me, you know I don’t like to waste food. I have a teenager in the house who demands bacon, so to make this dish I didn’t even need to go to the grocery store.
It's pure comfort food that can be eaten as a soup, but also a great side dish.
creamed peas with onions & bacon in béchamel sauce
The secret sauce in this dish is salsa bechamel! I say it in Spanish because I learned about the delicious bechamel sauce as a kid. It's the main ingredient in Cuban and Spanish croquetas and many other dishes I grew up with.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 large garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 pound pearl onions (about 2 cups), peeled, trimmed
3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
2 tbsp all-natural corn starch
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 lbs frozen peas, thawed
1/2 lb bacon, coarsly chopped
¼ cup crème fraîche, whole-milk Greek yogurt, or sour cream
Bring the milk and cloves to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat, add the bay leaf and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain into a bowl and discard the solids, careful not to push them through the mesh. Set aside and cover.
Over medium high heat, place the onions in a skillet and add water until they’re covered about half way. Add 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tsp. salt. Stir occasionally for about 15 minutes until the onions are golden and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Transfer the onions to a plate.
In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium heat, slowly whisking in the corn starch. Scrape the pan for a couple of minutes. Add the reserved milk slowly. Add the whipping cream. Continue stirring until thickened, adding the remaining ½ tsp salt, pepper and nutmeg. Finally, add the peas and onions and stir until everything is heated through. Fold in the crème fraîche and finally the bacon.
You may substitute 1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed