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Onion Confit


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but I wonder if to be entirely successful I should have either had them on high overnight, or started them off frying in the normal way and then transferred them to the crockpot when they'd got a bit of colour (and driven off a bit of liquid)?  Any thoughts?

Fron a common sense point of view, not a professional chef's, sauteeing them first seems to make sense. Marlene, did you sweat them first or put the whole kit and kaboodle in the crock? Full disclosure, I've not attempted this great sounding dish...I'm waiting for you all to get it down to a science..this is like a Cook's illustrated " we roasted 300 chickens so you don't have to!" article, but MUCH more entertaining! :smile:

Edited by Kim WB (log)
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Kim, following the techniques of most of the brave souls who had gone before me, :biggrin: I did not sweat them first, just threw everything into the crockpot. My onions did get a nice brown colour, but it was still very liquidy (ok, so maybe that's not a real word) 15 hours later. That why I wonder, if, without sweating, I should just reduce the amount of butter and oil since onions produce so much water of their own.

Curly's suggestion of starting them out in the frying pan makes some sense to me, but then wouldn't you just have fried onions, only cooked longer? I honestly don't know.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Could it be that how fresh the onions, or what type of onions they are, makes a difference in the amount of liquid they release? The onions I used were not really all that fresh since I figured it really would not make that much of a difference.

I did on occasion take off the lid and wipe the water from it, but I highly doubt that is was more than a teaspoon each time I did it.

Msk

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Curly's suggestion of starting them out in the frying pan makes some sense to me, but then wouldn't you just have fried onions, only cooked longer? I honestly don't know.

I think perhaps you could sweat them a bit until the liquid releases, but they are not fully browned, or even slightly browned, let alone carmelized.

I am on holding pattern until fifi determines the best crock pot for the task, and Marlene determines the onion/liquid/heat ratio...c'mon now ladies, your followers are waiting! :laugh:

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I don't really see why you should start your onions in a skillet and then move them into the crock pot/slow cooker. I mean, isn't the point of using a crock pot/slow cooker that you don't need other pots & pans to make your recipe? It's "put the food in and walk away", right? Why dirty more pans?

I think those who have said "use less liquid" may be on to something in regards to resolving the excess liquid problem. Using less liquid in my West Bend slow cooker wouldn't be a major problem because it has a non-stick interior anyway.

I hope to give this grand experiment a try this weekend.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I did mine entirely in the crock, and they progressed perfectly into the golden brown caramelized product I expected. I did monitor the process, and I did spend a good amount of time on high temp just to get my satisfaction that enough caramelization was taking place. Once that was done I turn it down, covered it up, and let it richen and mix with the bay and herbs which I think would not have happened if I had just done the fast version.

-Lucy

Edited to add that I used a very concentrated version of stock, not much liquid at all. And it never got very liquidy.

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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I did mine entirely in the crock, and they progressed perfectly into the golden brown caramelized product I expected. I did monitor the process, and I did spend a good amount of time on high temp just to get my satisfaction that enough caramelization was taking place. Once that was done I turn it down, covered it up, and let it richen and mix with the bay and herbs which I think would not have happened if I had just done the fast version.

-Lucy

Edited to add that I used a very concentrated version of stock, not much liquid at all. And it never got very liquidy.

When you started it out on high, how long did you leave it on high for? Was the lid on or off during this first part?

thanks!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I did mine entirely in the crock, and they progressed perfectly into the golden brown caramelized product I expected.  I did monitor the process, and I did spend a good amount of time on high temp just to get my satisfaction that enough caramelization was taking place.  Once that was done I turn it down, covered it up, and let it richen and mix with the bay and herbs which I think would not have happened if I had just done the fast version. 

-Lucy

Edited to add that I used a very concentrated version of stock, not much liquid at all.  And it never got very liquidy.

When you started it out on high, how long did you leave it on high for? Was the lid on or off during this first part?

thanks!

Marlene,

Did you add demi glace to your onions like fifi did?

Taking another look at the original recipe linked from the first page of this thread, they called for quite a bit of liquid. So maybe confit IS supposed to have liquid at the end of the cooking. I don't know.

Also, the original recipe calls for sugar. Besides sweetening the onions, wouldn't the sugar also help in thickening the liquid by acting like a syrup (after cooking a while)?

Can any SSB's on the board calculate/figure out if the sugar is in too small a quantity in the original recipe to even effect the liquid in this manner?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Ok, second experiment time. I've just started some onion confit in the slow cooker. Here's what I'm doing this time:

6 lg onions, sliced

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup EVOO

3 T beef demi glace

3 T sherry

I've started it on high with the lid on. Let the quest begin!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Oooo... I love the sherry idea.

Just a reminder... I added 1/2 cup of very dense home made demi glace. I mean this thing came out of its little jar like a hockey puck so it didn't really add that much liquid. I have a sneaking feeling that there will be wide variation in how much water is in the onions. I am not sure that developing times and temperatures that will work every time is going to happen. But it will be interesting to see how much variation there is as we go along here. Perhaps this is one of those things that you just have to peek in on from time to time but you really can't screw it up, well, short of cremating it.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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My demi glace is pretty thick too. I'm adding it for flavour not so much as to add liquid. The sherry idea came about when I figured if it didn't work this time, it would make a fine addition to French Onion soup :biggrin: I'm also using my newer crock pot this time around.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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What's a ______ confit and what do you use it for?

"Confit" is the French word for "preserved". Aside from fruit preserves, we are most familiar with the dish "duck confit", in which the process of slow cooking under fat or oil is just one more way to preserve the meat. Other methods of preserving meat are salting and air-curing, and the purpose there is to dry the meat - rid it of its moisture content so that the water will not support the growth of any bacteria. But dried foods are, well, dry and chewy, and salted foods usually have to be reconstituted. But duck, by its high fat content, lends itself to another method. The fat liquifies and surrounds the duck in the cooking pot. The slow cooking allows all the water in the meat to evaporate slowly and thoroughly, rising through the oil; when the steam is done rising, there's just no more water left in the meat. Then, when the pot of duck pieces covered in fat cools, the fat congeals and forms an airtight seal.

This is the technique usually applied to a "confit", at least the onion variety. (The fruit preserves have something to do the sugar content, and I'm not a chemist and don't really understand it.) Anyway, I've always thought that the onion preserves that we make by slowly cooking them in oil are a condiment, more than a traditional method of preserving them (besides, onions keep anyway under the right conditions by themsleves I believe), and so the degree to which you cook them, whether or not the sugars caramelize before the moisture evaporates - I've always thought that was just a matter of preference.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I don't really see why you should start your onions in a skillet and then move them into the crock pot/slow cooker. I mean, isn't the point of using a crock pot/slow cooker that you don't need other pots & pans to make your recipe? It's "put the food in and walk away", right? Why dirty more pans?

exactly! which is why I was so disappointed that mine were swilling about in a good two inches of liquid after 12 hours on low overnight. and remember, I didn't add any extra liquid - just a good lump of butter (prob 50g) and a good slug of olive oil. Also, they weren't quite cooked - were still a little crunchy (which I guess I should have expected, since when I make stews in my slow-cooker the veg often remain crunchy).

I tried boiling mine down but I never got the glorious treacly stickiness that I wanted. I think I'll have to stick to stovetop for that one. Unless I try one more time on high... For heaven's sake, onions are CHEAP! I can afford to experiment!

Anyway. The failures were a great addition to my tagine on Sunday night, and I have frozen the rest of the onions in one-onion portions for when I next do a recipe that opens 'brown one onion'.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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What's a ______ confit and what do you use it for?

"Confit" is the French word for "preserved". ... The fruit preserves have something to do the sugar content, and I'm not a chemist and don't really understand it.) Anyway, I've always thought that the onion preserves that we make by slowly cooking them in oil are a condiment, more than a traditional method of preserving them (besides, onions keep anyway under the right conditions by themsleves I believe), and so the degree to which you cook them, whether or not the sugars caramelize before the moisture evaporates ...

If I understand the metonymic chain here, it's similar to the connection between "preserves" and "jam" in English. Many kinds of fruits confits (jams, preserves, marmalades, etc.) are cooked and sterilised for long storage (confiserie): the heat kills bugs, and the acid/sugar mixture, in a vacuum, keeps for a long time. By extension, onion confit is a jamlike concoction, using onions rather than fruit. You could bottle this stuff, sterilise it and vacuum seal it, but I would guess that most people don't.

Strawberry preserves --> strawberry jam --> onion jam, which then gets labelled as "onion preserves" or confit d'oignon and confused with confit de canard, duck confit, which is only linked with fruits confits in that both are methods of preservation. Candied fruits, flower petals and the like are also produced in a confiserie.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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If I understand the metonymic chain here, it's similar to the connection between "preserves" and "jam" in English. ... By extension, onion confit is a jamlike concoction, using onions rather than fruit. You could bottle this stuff, sterilise it and vacuum seal it, but I would guess that most people don't.

That was my point. If people are making this with the intention of keeping it for long periods of time, then the questions they ask about cooking methods and times would be of rather crucial importance, and of course they'd have to follow the proper canning procedures for a food with the acidity of onions. If they're making it for short term use, then I think that it's entirely a matter of preference how you cook it, how long, etc.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I did mine entirely in the crock, and they progressed perfectly into the golden brown caramelized product I expected. I did monitor the process, and I did spend a good amount of time on high temp just to get my satisfaction that enough caramelization was taking place. Once that was done I turn it down, covered it up, and let it richen and mix with the bay and herbs which I think would not have happened if I had just done the fast version.

-Lucy

This was my experience as well. Took a bit longer than I expected, but I filled my 5 qt crock pot to the rim. Very tasty end product. I did add a bit of demi glace and thyme, along with bp.

Too bad that all the people who know

how to run the country are busy driving

taxicabs and cutting hair.

--George Burns

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I think I've achieved success. It took a long time, but it does look like confit this morning. A nice marmalade consistancy. The demi glace makes it a little darker I think than without, but I'll take some pics and post them later.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I did a batch of onion confit in my 30 year old crock pot (blazing orange on the outside, chocolate brown interior). The taste was wonderful (butter,evoo, condensed homemade beef stock). However, I was disappointed because after 15 hours in the c/pot they still had a bit of a crunch to them. Yes, they looked lovely, all brown and gooey, but they weren't super soft. :hmmm:

Any ideas what happened?

I have always used a method similar to schneich. I think I will go back to that.

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Life is short, eat dessert first

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Ok, second experiment time. I've just started some onion confit in the slow cooker. Here's what I'm doing this time:

6 lg onions, sliced

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup EVOO

3 T beef demi glace

3 T sherry

I've started it on high with the lid on. Let the quest begin!

i3597.jpg

]onion confit

This is what it looked like the second time. This time, I left the slow cooker on high for the first 8 hours. After that I turned it down to low. All in all, it took about 15 hours for it to come to this consistancy. I did stir it every now and then.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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This is what it looked like the second time. This time, I left the slow cooker on high for the first 8 hours. After that I turned it down to low. All in all, it took about 15 hours for it to come to this consistancy. I did stir it every now and then.

Marlene - did your onions go totally soft in the c/pot, or did they still have a bit of a bite to them?

Life is short, eat dessert first

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Over in my food blog thread, I talked about using the onion confit in the French Onion soup I made for dinner. I was asked to repost the information here.

Using This recipe, I used the onion confit and omitted the demi-glace and simmered it for hours.

It looked like this, simmering

i3789.jpg

Soup simmering

The end result was a French Onion soup that was much richer in flavour than anything I had made before and I would probably make this my preferred method of making French Onion Soup.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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