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Soubise dish makes onion lovers smile

ATLANTA -- There may be more varieties of Vidalia Onion Casserole than there are counties in Georgia authorized to grow and sell the registered sweet onions. So when S.L. Harrold's e-mail request back in January came in for one using onions, butter and cheese -- as most do -- we decided to wait until onion season to test the one that sounded best.

Ann Bohmer of Acworth (Ga.) sent this one from "Atlanta's Cooknotes," published by the Junior League of Atlanta. "Soubise" is a French word that means a puree of onions and rice served with meats or eggs or a cream sauce with onion puree added.

SOUBISE

Vegetable oil

4 tablespoons butter

7 1/2 cups (about 3 pounds) Vidalia onions, chopped

5 cups boiling water

1/2 cup raw rice

3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese, or to taste

Dash salt

3/4 cup half-and-half or evaporated skim milk, divided

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat 1 1/2-quart casserole with oil. Set aside.

Place butter in large skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, place boiling water and rice in medium saucepan, cover and cook 5 minutes. Drain rice and mix with onions.

Add cheese, salt and 2/3 cup cream to skillet. Mix well. Pour into prepared casserole. Add remaining cream, and more if necessary, so that cream is visible along outer edges of onion mixture. Cover and bake 1 hour. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.