My new obsession has become caramelized onions…yes, really! They are simple to make in large batches which can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for a few months. I have not found anything that they don’t add immense flavor too, naturally. They truly require nothing but a little olive oil to taste delicious. Onions satisfy your senses in so many ways, too. Their aroma is incredible as the natural sugars start to break down in the caramelization process. They look as delicious as they taste with their golden brown color and somewhat sticky appearance. They are texturally pleasant. These factors are more important than what you might initially think. By satisfying multiple senses through nutrition, you feel less deprived and more satiated than you would by eating something off the shelf.
The work is minimal but the benefits are HUGE. Onions lose very little in nutrient content through the cooking process. They are a rich source of flavonoids. Flavonoid consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Flavonoids are known to be anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory. Find out more about the cancer fighting benefits of onions.
Try this simple recipe for caramelizing onions. I prepare a huge batch and use them throughout the week in sauces, soups and salads as well as on meats, sandwiches, pizzas and roasted vegetables. Although you can season and add broth, wine, or even balsamic to your recipe, onions are sweet naturally and don’t require anything more than a little olive oil for cooking. You can caramelize yellow, red and white onions. I used yellow in this recipe. Enjoy!
Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onions
Step 1: Cut the onions into ¼ inch slices. The onions will eventually cook down so no worries about a crowded pan.
Step 2: Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel pan. Cook the onions over medium heat stirring occasionally. The onions will slowly soften and become translucent. They will begin to turn a golden color after about 20 minutes but the process is not complete.
Step 3: Stir more frequently (about once a minute) to prevent burning at this point and lower the heat slightly. They are caramelized when they become a caramel brown color. The amount of time to finish depends on the heat and the amount of onion in the pan. Expect at least an hour to fully break down and brown the natural sugars in the onions.
Tip: Although they are perfect as is for my taste, a couple tablespoons of water, wine, broth or balsamic can be added as well as fresh herbs and spices. Add your liquid and seasoning, if desired, during the last few minutes of cooking, carefully scraping the bottom of your pan to incorporate the sweet, sticky substance at the bottom known as fond.