I recently had the yummilicious experience of an appetizer involving caramelized onions. Although I detest onions and even though I picked every last speck of them off my appetizer, I thought I would make some to recreate the recipe. Besides, I had saved directions for making caramelized onions in the crockpot long ago, knowing I would one day make them for hubby, who loves onions.
I found the instructions I had saved, but I searched online for others just to see what I could find. Lo and behold, I came across one from a site called Shockingly Delicious. Now, I had just come back the night before from an inspiring food blogger’s conference, Camp Blogaway (post coming soon about that), and the blog name sounded like one I had heard at camp. Reading the author’s bio, I realized I had met the blogger, Dorothy Reinhold, at camp. Not only that, but I remembered her as one of the first persons I had encountered, and she so kindly informed me about the local Food Bloggers LA, encouraging me to look it up on Facebook and to join the group. What a coincidence! Needless to say, I looked no further for recipes. Do check out her post, for she includes lots of pictures of the very easy process as well as info about onions and caramelization.
As I said, I lack a fondness for caramelized onions. However, I can envision hubby spooning these atop his broiled venison steaks; adding them to his favorite soups; layering them on his beloved burritos; smattering them atop his favorite pizza, pepperoni and mushroom; mixing some into his green beans; or topping his baked potato with a spoonful of them.
If you love caramelized onions, this is the very easy route to go. Just bear with the tears during the chopping of the raw veggie, but once you dry your eyes, all you have to do is mix in a bit of olive oil, plug in the crockpot, and go about your day’s business. Or, go to sleep and let the magic happen overnight. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about gobbling these up all at once; instead, just pack into airtight containers or ziploc bags, then store in the freezer for later use. Talk about ease and usefulness!
Now, go buy a few pounds of onions and try it out. And let me know how else you use caramelized onions so I can open my cooking eyes to some new ideas.
P.S. I just took time to read the comments on Dorothy’s post, and one reader explains that this process doesn’t really caramelize onions in the true sense; rather, it just slowly browns them because most crockpots don’t reach the 110 degrees F temperature needed to caramelize foods. Interesting. Nonetheless, the final product produces a very sweet and soft onion (yes, I did venture a taste but just a tiny one).
“Caramelized” Onions in the Crockpot
- 4 pounds (about 6) yellow onions (however, I have a 6 1/2 quart crockpot and I could have easily fit more into it)
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil (or butter)
- Prepare crockpot by rubbing or spraying sides and bottom with a bit of oil.
- Cut off roots and top ends, then peel onions (and save skins/tops/bottoms for making broth). Cut them in half from roots to tops (“pole to pole”). Place halves cut side down, followed by thinly slice the halves pole to pole.Place sliced onions into crockpot.
- Pour 2-3 tbsp. olive oil (or melted butter) over onions, then toss to coat.
- Plug in crockpot and set to low for 10-12 hours, until onions have cooked to a lovely deep brown color.
- Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months.
Yield: about 3 cups
Note: I had a lot of juice collecting several hours into the cooking, so I drained the juice to allow the onions more opportunity to brown during the slow cooking. If you want them browner and truly caramelized, consider sauteeing them in a saucepan for a bit after they are finished cooking in the crockpot.
SOURCES: Shockingly Delicious and The Slow-Roasted Italian and Simply Recipes for the saute method