The cheap casserole that the internet can’t stop making

By | March 28, 2024

TikTok videos about the dish have been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

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I’m not one to shy away from onions in my cooking. From creamy onion soup to hamburger steaks with onions and gravy, onions are a staple ingredient in my cooking because I love the extra flavor they give when added to a recipe. As a child, I was a picky eater who shunned all forms of onions, but as an adult food writer I’ve reconsidered my stance on onions and fully embraced the crunchy vegetable as an ingredient.

When I started seeing videos about Tennessee Onions in my TikTok feed, even this onion convert felt a little insecure. Millions of TikTokers are sharing their own takes on the dish, made with sweet Vidalia onions and lots of butter, but would a casserole full of sliced, cheesy onions really be that stunning? Since an avid TikToker named Tennessee Onions one of her favorite side dishes, I decided to give the dish a try in my own kitchen.

What are Tennessee Onions?

The Tennessee Onions casserole has many layers: sliced ​​sweet onions, lots of grated cheese, butter and herbs, baked together in a 9×13-inch baking dish until the onions are soft and flavorful. Although TikTok is full of different versions of the side dish (videos with the hashtag #TennesseeOnions have been viewed more than 1.6 million times on the platform), the only consensus seems to be that it is essential to use a sweet onion, preferably the Vidalia variety.

Chelsea Page is interim director of the Vidalia Onion Committee and says Vidalia onions are a great addition to the recipe because of their “unique flavor and sweetness.” It is precisely for this reason that Vidalia onions have been the official state vegetable of Georgia since 1990. “The exceptional taste [of Vidalia onions] is attributed to the specific weather, water and soil found exclusively in 20 counties in South Georgia,” Page told Allrecipes. “The onions are grown by approximately 40 growers, many of which are family-owned and have been grown for generations exploited.”

How to Make Tennessee Onions

To make this sweet viral dish in my own kitchen, I started with a 3-pound bag of Vidalia onions, peeling most of them and cutting them into 1/4-inch-thick rings. I greased my 9 x 12 inch baking dish and filled it to the top with sweet Vidalia onions, then cut a whole stick of butter into thin cubes and placed them over the onions. Butter is essential in any Tennessee Onions recipe because it melts over the raw onions and helps them cook and soften in the oven.

<p>Terri Peters</p>
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<p>Terri Peters</p>
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After watching many TikTok videos where different creators shared their thoughts on the dish, I chose my next steps based on the flavor profiles that sounded best to me. That’s the great thing about Tennessee Onions: there’s room to experiment with the herbs and cheeses you enjoy most. I topped my butter-covered sliced ​​onions with pinches of garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper, parsley, and paprika, but you can adapt the recipe to use whatever spice combination sounds good to you. Then I sprinkled about a cup of shredded Cheddar and mozzarella on top, then topped it off with about a half cup of grated Parmesan.

I compared many different cooking times and oven temperatures for baking my Tennessee Onions and assumed that the longer my casserole was baked, the softer and tastier the onions would become. I was right. The best for my Vidalia onion casserole was to bake it under foil for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. Then I increased the heat to 425 degrees F and baked the Tennessee Onions uncovered for another 30 minutes until the onions were soft and the cheese was done. light brown on top.

<p>Terri Peters</p>
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<p>Terri Peters</p>
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What do Tennessee onions taste like?

My onion slicing and cheese grating resulted in an incredibly delicious side dish that tasted like French onion soup in casserole form. The Vidalia onions became sweet and tender in the oven and the cheeses melted perfectly, with a few caramelized bits adding extra flavor. Savory spices like garlic salt and black pepper perfectly complemented the sweetness of the onion, and the melting butter throughout the dish provided a rich and decadent backdrop to the casserole.

What to serve with Tennessee onions

Along with my Tennessee Onions, I prepared country fried cubes of steak with white gravy and threw a few frozen potato wedges into my air fryer. The meal felt distinctly Southern and pleased everyone at my dining table — especially my husband, who created his own take on loaded hashbrowns by topping the air-fried pudding with gravy, steak and a generous pile of Tennessee Onions.

As a lover of traditional steakhouse side dishes like creamed spinach, I thought Tennessee Onions gave off a similar vibe. The casserole was buttery and cheesy, and the soft, butter-braised texture of the sweet Vidalia onions would be the perfect addition to a steak dinner. I would also make a pan of Tennessee Onions as a burger topping at a backyard barbecue, as the flavorful onions would please party guests as an option atop freshly grilled burgers on toasted buns.

Like many TikTok trends, creators sharing their love for Tennessee Onions hasn’t rubbed me the wrong way. The roasted, onion-like dish remains in my side dish rotation. Since the friends and family I asked about the dish had never heard of it, I’m looking forward to making the tasty side for future dinner parties and teaching the people I love about my new favorite way to eat onions .

Read the original article on All Recipes.

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