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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How to Basics: Caramelized Onions

A new element I would like to add to my blog is a “How To” section. The basic idea of this feature will be for me to demonstrate or break down some form of cooking or baking that I think would be useful. FYI: There is a link for a printable version at the end of the post.

I wanted to start with caramelized onions for a couple of reasons: 1- I use them a bit when cooking so it would be easier for me to have a post that breaks it down rather than explaining it every time and 2- they really aren’t the easiest thing in the world to make. They seem pretty simple, but it took me quite a while to figure out the trick to them. I figure other people may have the same issue.

Three things you need to know about caramelized onions:
- You start out with a lot, but end up with about a quarter of what you started with
- They take a LOT of patience
- Butter is key

What you’ll need:
- 1 medium/large white or yellow onion (I prefer yellow)
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)]
- Salt and pepper


Step One: Melt your butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Use a large pan; you want the onion to have a lot of room to move around. Slice your onion as evenly as possible. This will ensure that they cook evenly. I prefer to slice them about ¼ inch thick.
Step Two: Add the onions to the melted butter and stir to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Add EVOO. Stir again and cover with a lid. I’ve found that covering them helps a lot. It will keep the moisture in the pan and will prevent the onions from browning too quickly.

Step Three: Keep an eye on them! Stir them every 5-7 minutes. If you see the pan getting a little “dry” add more butter or EVOO. Don’t be afraid to add more as needed. During this process I probably added another tablespoon of EVOO.

Step Four: Keep up Step Three until onions have developed a deep brown color and have become soft. Mine took between 50 – 55 minutes. HOWEVER – depending on the amount of onion and how thick you slice them, they make take more or less.

Here is the process in pictures:

Just added the onions to the pan

After cooking for fifteen minutes

After cooking 30 minutes

After cooking 50 minutes

I turned them off at this point. As you can see from the photos, they cook down a lot! Onion is a sneaky little ninja like that.

Click here for a printable copy.


À LA GRAHAM said...

Yum my favorite...especially with potatoes!

Anonymous said...

I love caramelised onions and usually I eat it with seafood and mashed potatoes

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