Vidalia onions have been grown in Georgia for over 60 years. A farmer by the
name of Mose Coleman noticed the onions he planted were not as hot as he
expected, but instead very sweet and mild. During the Depression, other farmers
began to also grow the Vidalia's when they saw Mose selling his onions for $3.50
per 50 lb. bag, which was a big price in those days.
Vidalia's are harvested from late April to mid-June. Their high water and sugar
content makes them prone to bruising and spoilage. They are best kept
refrigerated, frozen, or hung in a cool, dry area. One favorite method is in the
legs of clean pantyhose. Tie a knot between each Vidalia and cut above the knot
when you want one. Hang in a dry, cool area.
Only onions grown in the state designated 20 county production area can carry
the Vidalia name. Any other onion is a wannabe.
Creamy Vidalia Onion Chowder
4 slices bacon
2 T. olive oil
2 lbs. (about 4 medium) Vidalia or other sweet onions
1 package (20 ounces) refrigerated mashed potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 cups mashed
1 T. bottled minced garlic
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) fat-free chicken broth
2 C. frozen yellow corn kernels
2 bay leaves
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. ground black pepper, or more, to taste
1/2 C. sour cream
Place the bacon on a microwave-safe plate and microwave until crisp. Blot with a
paper towel to remove any excess grease. Set aside.
Heat the oil on medium in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Meanwhile, peel the
onions one at a time and coarsely chop, adding the onions to the pot as you
chop. When all of the onions have been added, raise the heat to medium-high.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, microwave the mashed potatoes according to the package directions,
until just warm, about 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave and set aside.
Add the garlic to the soup pot, and stir and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken
broth and stir well, scraping the pot bottom to remove any brown bits. Add the
mashed potatoes, corn, bay leaf, thyme and black pepper.
Cover the pot, raise the heat to high, and bring the soup back to a boil.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop the bacon and set aside. When the soup boils, remove
the pot from the heat and turn off the stove. Remove the bay leaves, and stir in
the sour cream until it is well-combined. Serve at once in soup bowls,
sprinkling the bacon on top at the table.