[Photograph: Kate Williams]

Nothing screams fancy dinner quite like a bowl of pearl onions. The small orbs of sweetness signal vast amounts of prep time and tears on the part of the cook, and so are rarely seen outside of feast tables around the holidays.

But don't let the extra work steer you away from Sam Sifton's recipe for Creamed Onions. These morsels are easy to peel once par-boiled and shocked, and are then coated in the most luscious of cream sauces. A smattering of bacon adds even more richness as well as smoky flavor, and an herbaceous finish of parsley, cayenne, and black pepper balances the sauce.

Why I picked this recipe: Peeling pearl onions may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I find it meditative. Also, this is a great excuse to eat an extra cup of cream at dinner.

What worked: Creamy and rich as promised, these onions are an excellent addition to the table, as long as you aren't scared of a little more cream. Be sure not to skip the parsley at the end; it adds welcome brightness.

What didn't: My onions varied in size a great deal, so I found I needed an extra 10 or 15 minutes of simmering time until all were tender.

Suggested tweaks: You could make this vegetarian by swapping out the bacon for butter or vegetable oil if you want (or need to).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies (each) of Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well and The Epicurious Cookbook to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.


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