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Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate, from the world, and have a harmony of aspiration. - Charles Dudley Warner, American Journalist, 1829-1900.
Dad arranged an astonishing number of home-grown yellow onion slices on the piece of soft white bread. After careful consideration, he added one more slice of onion. Smiling broadly, he topped the small mountain of onions with a second piece of bread. His favorite of all snacks was complete and he happily took an enormous bite.
We are a family of onion lovers, but Dad is the only one that eats raw onion sandwiches. I prefer onions beautifully caramelized and served with meat, veggies, eggs, rice, or mashed potatoes.
If you cook at all, you have seen recipes that call for "caramelizing onions in oil for about 12-15 minutes." While this will make them brown tasty, it will not caramelize them. Why not? To answer that, we need just a little science and a few culinary tricks designed to bring out the natural sugars that would otherwise remain within the onion. Caramelizing happens when those sugars are in contact with moderately heated oil for a long enough time. For my friends that love real science, enjoy charts, graphs, and links detailing the specifics of the chemistry, check out this wonderful blog.
Oil with a high smoking point will caramelize an alaready sweet onion in about 30 minutes. The traditional and more leisurely way works with any type of onion and allows you to use your choice of olive oil, butter, or a mixture of the two. The little beauties will be done in about 45 minutes to an hour. Quite a time consuming bit of work, but well worth every minute. Caramelized onions freeze very well so go ahead and make them ahead of time.
You can “caramelize” the onions without fat in a slow cooker. The results are not identical to cooking them in fat, but it's pretty close to the real deal. Slice five sweet onions (such as Vidalia or Super Sweet) and put them in the slow cooker with 1 ½ cups veggie stock. Let the whole thing cook on low at least 12 hours. If they are not beautifully browned at this point, let them cook another three hours.
To make them the old fashioned way, click here: How to Caramelize Onions.
Add your caramelized onions to any of these recipes:
Pasta a al Laura is my take on a delicious recipe from Laura's Best Recipes. I've included a link to Laura's website in case you'd like to try the original!
Pasta with Bacon, Green Beans, and Caramelized Mushrooms and Onions is heavy veggie and easy to prepare.
Wild Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Shepherd’s Pie from Vegetarian Times will impress all your vegetarian friends!
Janice’s Green Beans and Tomatoes with Caramelized Mushrooms is a family favorite.
I made Mushroom Bourguignon one night when I wanted the flavors of Bourguignon, but did not want any meat. This dish is beautiful on its own with a chunk of chewy bread and equally as wonderful as a topping for a grilled steak.
BluejeanSue’s Corn Bacon Caramelized Onion is a fantastic take on an old Mid-West standard.
This wonderful Caramelized Onion Dip recipe was found right here at Calorie Count using the recipe search bar!
Galettes are fun to make. This Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette from Calorie Count's many recipes makes terrific use of caramelized onions.
Do you think the flavor is worth the time to caramelize onions instead of just browning them? What fat do you like to use? Have you tried the no-fat method of caramelizing onions? Did they taste the same as the fat saute method? Have you ever had a raw onion sandwich? What is your favorite recipe that includes caramelized onions? Share your with everyone here! If you would like your recipe considered for CC Palate, send it to me via pm. Enjoy your onions, they are good for you! This article may be reprinted (including bio) with prior permission from the author.