Even when the pantry is empty, there are usually onions in most kitchens. And believe it or not, the humble onion — when caramelized — can come to dinner’s rescue.
Caramelized onions are incredibly versatile. I always have a container ready and waiting for me in the freezer and the ingredients to make more are always on my shopping list. Saucy, soft slow-cooked onions can be added to mashed potatoes for a chef-style twist or used as a topper for a steak or a baked potato.
One of my favourite uses for caramelized onions is as a topper for pizza (I make the one pictured above often). Likewise, pork chops sautéed with apples also love caramelized onions and adding them to a juicy grilled burger is blissful, indeed!
The basic steps required to caramelize onions are simple:
-Toss sliced onions with melted butter in a heavy skillet set over medium-low heat.
-Add a clove of minced garlic and a little dried or fresh thyme leaves.
-Partially cover the pan and cook, stirring often, for about 20 minutes.
-When the onions are very soft, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium. Brown slightly.
-Sprinkle the onions with a little granulated sugar and sauté, stirring constantly, until well-browned and very soft.
-Deglaze the pan (loosen the cooked-on brown bits) with a few tablespoons of dry sherry or chicken broth.
-Stir in a splash of cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
How do you use caramelized onions?