John and I have several garden beds in our yard, but we also have a garden bed at Billy Goat Hill Community Garden. This year our community bed is full of cherry tomatoes and okra, but half the fun is seeing what others are growing around us and I have learned about all kinds of new plants that grow locally including Borage, Ground Cherries and Walking Onions.
I never knew an onion could walk, but these really do. The walking onion grows a long stalk much like a leek. At the top of the stalk, baby bulbs form resembling the scapes of garlic. Once these get heavy enough, they cause the whole plant to fall over allowing the bulbs to root into the ground and form new stalks. Through this method, the onions eventually move throughout the garden creating new plants. I learned from an Internet search that these onions originate from Greece.
A fellow gardener gave me several onions that had started to take over her bed. Greek Onion recipes aren’t that easy to find, so I tasted the onions first. They actually taste more like a shallot than an onion with a mild garlic/onion flavor. I started by using the onion bulbs. I peeled them like a garlic bulb, crushed and minced. They were delicious in an omelet with cheese and red peppers. Then, I decided to make use of the stalks. I chopped them in I inch sections like a leek and boiled in water for about 50 minutes. It made a great onion broth that I froze for later. Weeks later I found the perfect use in a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse. Here is the recipe in case you want to give it a try. You can make this using water instead of the onion stock, but it definitely added to the complexity of the meal.
1 chicken cut in parts
4 quarts onion broth (or water)
1 inch crushed ginger
2 tsp. salt
½ lb. rice noodles
Fresh cilantro, mint and basil sprigs
1 c. bean sprouts
Lime, cut in wedges
Sriracha and fish sauce
Bring broth to boil with garlic and chicken pieces. Reduce to low and simmer 3 hours. Strain the broth and season with salt. Prepare noodles and divide between four bowls. Break up chicken meat (discarding skin and bones) and divide evenly adding to bowls. Ladle broth on top of each bowl. Serve with remaining ingredients and allow everyone to add to their taste.