Onions. They are a key ingredient in a lot of our food.
We put them on our burgers, hot dogs, submarine sandwiches. In our soups, stews and chilies. So many uses. Many different varieties. And yet if you are like I USED to be, you either avoided cooking with them or did not get the usage out of them to justify the big 5 or 10 pound bag you bought, and if you were lucky, you threw them out before they grew those lovely tentacles.
I only recently discovered the awesomeness of perhaps the most versatile and longest lasting version of the mighty onion......the CARAMELIZED ONION!
One weekend recently, I made a very tasty tomato soup in a cheesy baked bread bowl. I posted a picture of it, as I usually do, and mentioned how I was so blown away with how it turned out, that I had to try other cheesy bread bowl ideas. An old school friend of mine had some suggestions, one of which being a soup with caramelized onions.
I had never made caramelized onions before, and if you were to ask me, I would have told you that along with a few onions, you also need some kind of sweetening ingredient, maybe some soy sauce for color and who knows what else.
|Caramelized onions can be as simple as just two ingredients!|
I took to Google and searched, "How to make caramelized onions". Every result sang the praise of the caramelized onion. I got a bit intimidated but clicked one of the first links and could not believe what I saw....
Caramelized Onions Ingredients:
"And???????" I thought to myself.
And nothing. I read the instructions and immediately wanted to kick myself. Why did I not look this up before?! I then took to Youtube to search for videos on making these things. The search results were right. Onions. Pretty much. You can add some salt, maybe some pepper and some Balsamic vinegar for flavor, but just onions.
|Cover and cook on medium to high heat for 10 minutes.|
I quickly went out and headed to the supermarket right across the street which has a produce section so pleasing to an aspiring Chef, that I will still go over there just to walk around and look at everything! I picked up about 10 onions, as the recipe I chose to follow on Youtube stated that you need to get a good number of them when making these things because they shrink. So I picked up about 10 sweet onions and some Balsamic vinegar.
|After 10 minutes. Keep uncovered|
for the rest of the process while cooking, stirring every 10 minutes..
I should have picked up some goggles, too. Chopping one or two onions can burn a bit. Chopping about 10 of them can feel like a forest fire is happening in your eyes! But is it worth it? HECK YA!!!
Caramelized onions take about an hour to make and they create a scent in your house that you just wish you can put in a can and use as an air freshener! But maybe that's just me.
When it comes to cooking, I enjoy the journey just as much, if not more than the destination. I LOVE making caramelized onions! LOVE IT! The smell that builds up. The slow changing of color and texture. I love all of it! I mentioned it in my very first Blog post....if I was a contestant on Hell's Kitchen, I would probably secretly throw some of the competitions just to stay behind and do prep work. If I was on Hell's Kitchen and my team won a challenge where the losers had to chop and make caramelized onions in preparation for that night's dinner service, I would be very tempted to stay behind! Maybe fake an injury. Claim a fear of heights or a tummy ache. I would. Surely that would impress Chef Ramsay and not get me eliminated, right? Screw my teammates! I want to make some onion stuffs!
|Chef Gordon Ramsay.|
Courtesy, "Hell's Kitchen".
Caramelized onions can keep in the fridge for a very long time. Some have even said that you can store them in the freezer for up to six months!
Buy a 10 pound bag of onions, caramelize them and you've got a special ingredient you can add to just about anything for a while. Put some in your pasta sauce. Add some extra awesomeness to a grilled cheese sandwich. Top a salad with them. Heck, eat them as they are!
|50 minutes. At this point, add 1-2 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar or whatever else|
you planned to add for extra flavor. Or just leave as is! Still tastes great!
You can buy onions in bulk for a very reasonable price at any supermarket. In my area, a 10 pound bag goes for $3-$4. I can make two batches of caramelized onions with one of these bags and have that awesome extra ingredient to spoil myself for the next one year if the six months in the freezer thing is true.
Give them a shot. All you need is onions!
|1 hour! Done and ready to be put to work!|
SIMPLE CARAMELIZED ONIONS
LOTS of onions, chopped! I use half of a 10lb bag. The onions shrink quite a bit during cooking.
2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil.
1-2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1. Heat olive oil on slightly over medium heat in a large skillet (Preferably one that has a cover).
2. Put all chopped onions into skillet and lightly stab at them a little bit to separate. They will eventually get easier to separate as you cook them.
3. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
4. After 10 minutes, uncover and stir. Leave the skillet uncovered for the remaining cooking time.
5. Cook for another 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. The onions will produce dark burnt looking pieces. This is good!
6. After 40 minutes (50 minutes total), add Balsamic vinegar and stir. Cook for 10 more minutes, stir and serve or store in fridge or freezer.
My Research has shown that caramelized onions can stay good for up to 6 months in the freezer. I haven't tried it yet, though.
Eat them as is. Add them to salads as a great alternative to dressing. Have a ball!
|Grilled Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Sandwich.|
|Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Grape Tomatoes and Fresh Dill.|
|Caramelized Onions in a Cheesy Baked Bread Bowl.|