How to: Caramelize Onions

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I LOVE onions! I enjoy them raw, cooked, mixed with other ingredients or just on their own.

….(Am I the only one? Is that weird?)…

If I want to be fancy and take my dish to the next level, I always, ALWAYS go for caramelized onions. So today I will show you just how simple they are to make! But before we get to the recipe, I have to stress that there is quite a difference between caramelizing onions and browning your onions. You definitely don’t want to confuse the two…otherwise, you will be won’t get the results you were looking for and you will be highly disappointed.

Caramelized vs Browning onions

  1. TIME. Caramelized onions are prepared with little oil over low heat while browning occurs on high heat. Consequently, it takes at least an hour for the caramelization process to occurs but minutes for browning. If  you really want caramelized onions, DON’T try to speed the process!
  2. APPEARANCE. When caramelizing onions, you begin by sweating out your onions. They will soften and become translucent before any caramelization starts to take place. Browning your onions will do just that “brown” your onions.
  3. FLAVOR. As you caramelize your onions on a low heat, you begin to extract the natural sweetness of the onions which leaves you with a sweet, melt in your mouth onion. Browning on the other hand will leave with a tender, golden brown product lacking in that sweet flavor and creaminess.

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Caramelized Onions:

  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • Thyme (optional)
  • 1/2-1 cup of White wine, for deglazing (you can also substitute with water or broth)
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pan, melt your butter over low heat.
  2. Add the sliced onions. Season with salt and stir gently to coat with the butter.
  3. Continue to stir every 10 minutes. Your onions will start to soften, become translucent and release liquid.
  4. Halfway through the cooking process, deglaze your pan with some wine (pour a little bit at a time and use only what is needed). You want to scrape all those brown bits on the bottom of the pan, that’s where all the flavor is!
  5. Add a few sprigs of thyme and  let it simmer a few minutes longer.
  6. Check the flavor. If needed, add salt and/or cook longer for added flavor.
  7. Remove from heat.

Don’t have time to stand in front of the stove? No worries, you can also make these in the crockpot!

  1. On a low setting, add all the ingredients except the wine in the crockpot. Let it cook for 8 hours or so.
  2. Check and stir our onions as often as possible.
  3. I don’t like to add any liquid when caramelizing onions in the crockpot; in my opinion, it produces more than even liquid and there’s no need to deglaze. Sometimes, I even find there is too much liquid in the crockpot. If you find that to be the case for you, let it cook a few hours with no lid to allow some of the excess liquid to evaporate. You will end up with a thicker and jammier consistency.

Enjoy!

 Comment below: What is one food that you absolutely LOVE?

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