Contributed by: Mary Shriner, Santee

“You can make this one day ahead and partially bake. Then finish baking for 10 to 15 minutes on the day you will be serving it.”

Ingredients

2 (15-ounce) jars whole pearl onions — don't use pickled onions

⅓ cup butter

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups cream or half-and-half

1 to 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)

⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

˝ teaspoon dry mustard powder

Pinch nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

˝ cup grated cheddar cheese

Paprika

Directions

Open jar and drain onions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Turn heat to low and stir in the flour. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly (you must cook a little to avoid a “raw flour” flavor). Stir in cream or half-and-half and sherry, if using. Stir to blend.

Stir in Parmesan, mustard powder, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to thoroughly combine ingredients and melt cheese.

Grease a small oven baking dish (or spray with nonstick cooking spray). Put drained onions into baking dish, then cover thoroughly with white sauce mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese over top, then sprinkle paprika over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. If desired, broil the top briefly until golden brown.