Think, Read, Cook

Because no single way of eating works for everybody.

An Onion’s Finest Hour

OnionOnStump

Much as I love onions in any form at all, I think they are at their best when they’re caramelized.

Mmmm… caramelized onions. Sweet, savoury, their acid sharpness having mellowed into a flavourful delight that spreads through your mouth… pure ambrosia. In almost any recipe that calls for onions, caramelizing them first will add a completely different character and depth of flavour to the final dish. It’s a sort of onion transfiguration. They’re still onions… but soooo much better.

I’ve seen recipes saying that cooking onions on medium heat for 10 minutes will caramelize them. Well, that’s just not true. Real caramelization, the kind that turns a tasty onion into a delicious near-otherworldly experience, takes longer than that.

How much longer? Read on. Then go make some. It’s worth the extra time.

 

How to Caramelize Onions

1.  Slice or chop onions into desired size pieces.

2.  Melt butter in frying pan over medium-low heat.

3.  Add onions; stir.

4.  Cook onions for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If they start to make frying sounds or get browned on the edges, turn the heat down.

5.  Every now and then, get up and stir the onions. Enjoy the fantastic smell they will send through your house.

6.  After an hour, they will caramel-c0loured, soft, and gorgeous. Use them in whatever recipe you’re making. Enjoy.

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39 comments on “An Onion’s Finest Hour

  1. judy
    April 25, 2013

    Ohhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! Sounds soooooo goooood. Even in a curry? Dribble dribble dribble……

    • thinkreadcook
      April 25, 2013

      Oh, yeah. In a curry, by all means. Now I’m getting hungry! 😀

  2. judy
    April 25, 2013

    What’s the time where you are?

  3. Sam Han
    April 25, 2013

    caramelised onions on puff pastry!!! 😀

    • thinkreadcook
      April 25, 2013

      Oh, YEAH! Wish I could eat puff pastry… but for anyone who can, Yum! 😀

  4. judy
    April 26, 2013

    Then you’re about 7-8 hrs behind me. It’s 1.10 pm hers now.

  5. akanedou
    April 26, 2013

    What a delicious post…..I love onions!!

    • thinkreadcook
      April 26, 2013

      Oh, me too! And I love your photography as well (though not to eat!). 😀

  6. Mandy
    April 26, 2013

    I absolutely love cartelized onions! They go with so many things! Curry, cheese, burgers, pizza, bread, and so much more! Baked onions are a close second for me.

    • thinkreadcook
      April 27, 2013

      Oh, baked onions are tasty too! And my mum used to put whole onions in pot roast, which was good. But I’m addicted to the caramelized ones. I once had caramelized onion jam… wow!

  7. judy
    April 27, 2013

    In the days that I still cooked I used to put frozen veggies under my roast which I did in oven. I don’t know how to pot roast. Chicken ot beef on top and surround them with par boiled potatoes onions and whole heads of garlic. Chicken and meat were shmired the night before. Salt and pepper on the potatoes and olive oil trickled on top and then into my electric oven. I

  8. judy
    April 27, 2013

    It was. My son loved it. It just got hard. Standing in the kitchen really hurt my back. When my husband and I split up the kids were away in the army so there was just me at home. I didn’t bother cooking for myself and I got home from work after 8pm so I had no energy. I lost my self confidence in the kitchen. Then they got married, my ex would come for sabbath eve supper. Kids were born – 6 of them! And I started to get very nervous in there and some didn’t eat chicken so I was making roast one week, spaghetti the next and I just went down hill from there. Now they come every other Friday but I’m a nervous wreck. My apartment isn’t very big and 6 kids make so mucb noise I can’t bear it. My stomach starts churning before they come. The eldest is a 14 yr old girl and quiet. Then 5 boys 13, 13, 9, 7 and 4 who is the worst of the lot. About a year ago I said I can’t cook any more. My daughter said she’d do it and she does. Sometimes my daughter in law will make something too. When they were younger I cooked, baked, made my own granola and jam. Where did all that ability go.

    • thinkreadcook
      April 27, 2013

      It’s good to have a daughter who can pick up the tradition for you. My son is learning to cook, and really enjoys it. I tell him, “Women like a man who can cook,” for extra incentive. 🙂

  9. judy
    April 28, 2013

    She’s not very happy about it. She works and has 3 boys. Once they were old enough to help they did the same things. Here mothers tend to bring up male chauvinistic boys. He can even cook which I didn’t teach him. Once when he came home for a long weekend and his girlfriend and sister were at school he took a yeminite cookbook of mine and made one of their dishes which included a flakey pastry made with butter and a long business. The yeminite women work very hard in the kitchen. It was perfect. He said no big deal. Took the book and followed the recipe. Said any man who says he can’t cook is a liar. Just follow the recipe. Do I talk too much?

    • thinkreadcook
      April 29, 2013

      Of course you don’t talk too much. That’s what the Comments section is for! 🙂

  10. judy
    April 29, 2013

    Everybody else seems to comment on the recipes and here I am more or less telling you my whole life story. As to my daughter, she was fired from her job. She was rather stunned having never had that experience. So am I to be honest. I know her as a good worker. It won’t be easy to find another job. She can only work half day as the littlest boy is only 4 and she has to fetch him from kindergarten. Also it has to be in her area as they only have one car and hubby needs it as he works far from home. The trials and tribulations of being a mum. The weather is awful. Awfully hot. Humid. Hot wind. I won’t go out in this weather. Lotto – my kitty – has a urine infection. He runs when he sees me coming with his revolting antibiotics. I’ve been crying a lot about him. I’m worried. Oh dear.

    • thinkreadcook
      April 29, 2013

      Sometimes you’ve just got to talk – nothing wrong with that! 🙂 My cat doesn’t like to take his appetite-stimulant pills; I suspect they must taste like hell on toast or something. I have to aim the pill precisely down the back of his throat. He always forgives me afterward, though, so I’m lucky!

  11. AlcoholTourism
    April 29, 2013

    Can you use other fat sources- like olive oil- or is butter required for proper caramelized onions?

    • thinkreadcook
      April 29, 2013

      Oh, this will work with any kind of fat, including the kinds that have a low smoke-point, because the heat is low throughout the process.

      Bacon fat – mmmmmmmmmmm…

      • AlcoholTourism
        May 9, 2013

        So I have tried this twice now and it is _awesome_! Why do all the recipes say to cook the onions until translucent? This method is way better. Thanks for the tip!

      • thinkreadcook
        May 10, 2013

        Oh, cool – I’m so glad this works for you! 😀

  12. judy
    April 29, 2013

    I had to give lotto drops for his appetite. He vomited before it even went down. Just enough to hit the back of his throat. I tried once again the next day. Same thing happened. No more medicine. Well he’s up after hours of sleep and now he’s asleep on my lap and when I go to bed he will nag me to hurry up and get into bed so he can get in too and go back to sleep.

    • thinkreadcook
      April 29, 2013

      My cat does that too – his idea of bliss is when I’m home sick, and he can sit on me in bed all day. 🙂

  13. judy
    April 30, 2013

    I have to give him .07 ml twice a day. Last night I prepared it without him knowing what I was doing. I hid the syringe thing behind my back and then gs it to him. He looked at me after as if I’d betrayed him. This morning he knew exactly what was going to happen and tried to run away but I caught him. Then I gave him a big cuddle which he hates and then put him onto my chair. He’s asleep now in my bed. He sat in his litter box this morning and cried. Needless to say I’ve been crying a lot.
    P

    • thinkreadcook
      April 30, 2013

      Keep in touch with your vet, let him/her know how your cat is doing, in case he needs a stronger kind of medication. At least, that’s what my vet always says to do! Hope Lotto is better soon.

  14. judy
    April 30, 2013

    Well he’s doing his business in the litter box. Lots of it. So far no more accidents. I have a whole week more so I should be able to tell by then. He seems to have stopped licking himself so hopefully it’s stopped stinging him. Like thrush I suppose.

    • thinkreadcook
      April 30, 2013

      That’s got to be good news, if he’s experiencing less discomfort. 🙂

  15. judy
    April 30, 2013

    Seems to be thank. GOD.

  16. judy
    May 10, 2013

    Oh my. How much fat world you need. I’ve only seen rachers here.

  17. judy
    May 10, 2013

    Oops. Typo. Rashers. Sorry.

    • thinkreadcook
      May 10, 2013

      Cooking oil, butter, etc.? Use a few teaspoons. If the onions start sticking, put in a little more. 🙂

      • judy
        May 11, 2013

        I meant how much bacon fat meaning how many rashers would I need.

      • thinkreadcook
        May 11, 2013

        I honestly don’t know, since every rasher of bacon has a different amount of fat! Cook up a pan of bacon, and use the remaining fat for the onions, I guess. 🙂

  18. judy
    May 11, 2013

    Ok but I really love bread fried in the bacon fat.

  19. judy
    May 11, 2013

    Isn’t it just!

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