Caramelized Onions

 

It’s not a complicated process to caramelize onions, but it does require your full attention. Don’t be alarmed by the number of onions this recipe calls for, once the onions are cooked, they reduce by three quarters: 16 cups of raw onion become four cups of caramelized onion. A heavy-bottomed pan is best, it holds the heat, but creates a barrier from the direct flame and cooks evenly.

To start the process it’s important to “sweat” the onions. Put them in a  hot pot with oil, toss to coat well and then cover and sweat to expel water, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover to steam away the water. At this point, the natural sugar in the onion begins to caramelize. This happens quickly and adjusting the heat and deglazing the pan with a little cold water occasionally are essential to prevent burning the fond or the onions, which makes the onions bitter.

Use caramelized onions in an omelet with your favorite cheese, stir into mashed potatoes or top off a burger or sausage on a roll.

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Ingredients:
4 pounds onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup cold water

Cut both ends off the onions and slice in half lengthwise.

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Remove the skins.

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Slice the onions into thin strips lengthwise.

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The trimmed four pounds makes 16 cups raw onion.

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Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed, covered pot over medium heat; stir in the onions and salt. Cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.

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Place a cup of cold water on the side of the stove.

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Remove the cover and raise the heat a bit to eliminate the water. Stir frequently to see when the sugar begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.

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Now is the time to pour a little  water into the pot and deglaze the bottom by scraping away the fond.

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The water dissolves the fond, coats the onions with the flavorful juices and turns them brown.

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Continue stirring and deglazing the pan until the onions are soft and light brown, about 20 minutes.

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How To: Caramelize Onions
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 cups
 
It's not a complicated process to caramelize onions, but it does require your full attention. Don't be alarmed by the number of onions this recipe calls for, once the onions are cooked, they reduce by three quarters: 16 cups of raw onion become four cups of caramelized onion. A heavy-bottomed pan is best, it holds the heat, but creates a barrier from the direct flame and cooks evenly. To start the process, it's important to "sweat" the onions. Put them in hot pot with oil, toss to coat well and then cover and sweat to expel water, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover to steam away the water. At this point, the natural sugar in the onion begins to caramelize. This happens quickly and adjusting the heat and deglazing the pan with a little cold water occasionally are essential to prevent burning the fond or the onions, which makes the onions bitter. Use caramelized onions in an omelet with your favorite cheese, stir into mashed potatoes or top a burger or sausage on a roll with caramelized onions.
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds onions (16 cups sliced onion)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup cold water
Method
  1. Cut both ends off the onions and slice in half lengthwise.
  2. Remove the skins.
  3. Slice the onions into thin strips lengthwise.
  4. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed, covered pot over medium heat; stir in the onions and salt. Cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.
  5. Place a cup of cold water on the side of the stove.
  6. Remove the cover and raise the heat a bit to eliminate the water. Stir frequently to see when the sugar begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Now is the time to pour a little water into the pot and deglaze the bottom by scraping away the fond.
  8. The water dissolves the fond, coats the onions with the flavorful juices and turns them brown.
  9. Continue stirring and deglazing the pan until the onions are soft and light brown, about 20 minutes.

 

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