Wanting a change, I decided to try those mysterious pearl onions from the fresh produce aisle, adding them to good 'ole green beans. They are a hit with my family! Peeling those onions takes patience, but the rewards are a better texture and flavor than frozen.
In a small saucepan, bring a 4 cups water to a boil.
Cut off the stem end of each pearl onion. Now rock your knife gently on the root end of the onion, making a shallow "X" cut.
Now, working with 6 at a time, boil the cut onions one minute. Remove the onions from the water, draining them on a folded paper towel. Toss 6 more pearl onions into the boiling water to keep the production line going!
When cooled a few seconds, pinch the root end of the pearl onion until the tender pearl pops out. You may have to give it a little encouragement, but it will work. Practice helps.
When all the onions have been peeled, place a 3 quart or larger saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the butter to the pan, and stir in the pearl onions just as the butter melts. Turn the heat down to medium, and continue to cook, stirring frequently.
When the onions are getting translucent, add the sugar. This step helps the onions to caramelize.
Drain the 2 cans of whole green beans. Add them to the pearl onions, stirring gently.
Turn the heat down to low, and simmer until the green beans are steaming hot. Keep warm until time to serve.