September 4, 2018
September is here. I hear a lot of moaning and groaning about the end of summer, but that’s three weeks away, people! Cheer up! September also means the fall harvest is beginning and lots of hearty and delicious vegetables are coming our way.
I don’t know about you, but I have a few onions sitting around. Some people shy away from them because they’re sharp and might cause stomach repercussions. Here’s what I do: I make caramelized onions! They are mild and delicious, and there are things we can add to make them super interesting and even more delicious. So today’s recipe is one for caramelized onions.
2 large yellow onions, peeled
2 TBS unsalted butter
Low-sodium chicken broth or water (for pan; optional)
1. Halve both onions through the root end (vertically). Using the tip of your knife, cut a V-shaped notch around the root on each half to remove it. This will help the onion slices separate when you slice the onion.
2. Lay each onion half on your cutting board, flat side down, with the root end facing you, then thinly slice the onion lengthwise. You want slices that are 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. You’re going to wind up with a big pile of thinly sliced onion. Don’t worry – it cooks down quite a bit.
3. Heat 2 TBS of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until it sizzles. Using a pan that has a wide base gives water room to evaporate, allowing the onions to caramelize rather than steam.
4. Putting all of the onions in at once would crowd the onions, making it hard to stir, which would in turn make the onions on the bottom cook faster than the ones at the top. So, begin with a handful or two of onions. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and starting to turn translucent (1–2 minutes). Stir in a few more handfuls of onions and continue cooking and stirring until you’ve added all the onions. Season with a pinch of salt.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook the onions, stirring every few minutes to prevent them from sticking and browning unevenly, until blonde-colored, 15–20 minutes. At this point, the onions are just done enough for French onion soup. If you feel like onions are getting too brown around the edges or they’re sticking, reduce your heat a bit.
6. If you want onions that are both softer and more caramelized (for something like onion dip), keep cooking and stirring until the onions are really golden brown, another 15–20 minutes. Because most of the water will have cooked off at this point, there might be some bits stuck to the pan. If this happens, stir in a splash of broth or water. The liquid will dissolve the cooked-on bits, which the onions will re-absorb. For extra-dark onions, the kind that are great on a burger, cook until they start to almost blacken around the edges and go slightly crisp, another 10–15 minutes. This requires constant attention so they don’t burn. Caramelized onions are not fast food, but they are so worth the effort!
7. Let the onions cool in the saucepan, then either use them right away or put them in an airtight container and chill. They will keep up to 1 week.
HELPFUL HINT: There are lots of things you can add to these onions to enhance or complement their flavor: red wine, balsamic vinegar, more chicken stock, diced mushrooms – let your imagination run wild!
ANOTHER HELPFUL HINT: I saw this one on the late lamented The Chew: It’s still corn season. To quickly and neatly cut the kernels off a corn cob, use a bundt pan. Rest the tip of the corn cob on the little indentation in the center of the pan (the part that sticks up). Then use your knife to quickly slice off the corn kernels. A bonus: they all land in the bundt pan!
I will be away for the next two weeks, so Anastasia will be gathering recipes for you from the Internet. Enjoy the bounteous season!
And have a delicious week!