Recipe from chef Katie Button of Curaté, Asheville, North Carolina
3 pounds pearl onions
Chicken stock as needed
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
10 cups whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and white pepper to taste
Blanch whole pearl onions in salted hot water for 1 minute. Drain and cool immediately in ice water to stop the cooking process.
Cut off root end and peel off 2 to 3 tough outer layers. Put peeled onions in saucepan and cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until the onions are tender. Strain.
Meanwhile, to make the béchamel, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until the raw flour taste is gone.
Heat the whole milk in separate saucepan over low heat. Slowly whisk hot milk into roux (butter/flour combination) and bring to a boil until slightly thickened. Season with nutmeg, salt, and white pepper to taste. Stir cooked pearl onions into béchamel and keep hot until ready to serve.