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Mudpuppie

Caramelized onions

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What would I REALLY like to do with them, when they are sitting in the pan, all warm and glossy, and aromatic?? Just pick up a fork and eat them plain --- all by themselves in their simple essence.

But I have to say that I like the fish recipe. Monday night is fish night here, and I think I will give it a try ---- but I will save a spoonful just to have a little bit for myself!


Edited by jo-mel (log)

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Caramelize your onions as usual. Then put them in a smoker. Thats it.

I put them on a plate, and place plate in a smoker. Smoking draws out water, so don't keep them in there too long or they will dry out. But it does work.

Thank you for the tip on the wood. Will do...thanx!!!!

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Caramelized onions mix really well with roasted red peppers.

Hellz yeah. One of the few meals that I threw together from my own little brain included CO, sausage, roasted red peppers (I used jarred red peppers, marinated in chile and garlic), walnuts, and roasted butternut squash, all thrown together with pasta. The CO were like noodles along with the pasta. Yummo.

I also like to put CO in a pita sandwich with roasted red peppers and hummus--so awesome!

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Stir them through pasta with mushrooms and crisped up sausage...

Or even more simply, toss with hot pasta, olive oil, lots of parmesan and lots of roughly cracked black pepper. Even better if you fry a few sage leaves in the oil before tossing.

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make up a big platter with steamed (or roasted) asparagus, prosciutto and rocket, with a mound of onions in the middle, and parmesan shavings over all. Lots of ciabatta and evoo on the side. I have seen people come to blows...

currently, though, the onions are going into the steak + kidney pie my housemate requested I make him instead of a birthday cake.


Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

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

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Yum! French onion soup, on top of Brie in a phyllo wrap, on top of steak or chops, on pizza with sauteed mushrooms, in omelets... :wub:


"A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf

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I put them in a frittata with potatoes , phyllo triangles with artichoke hearts, pannini with eggplant, roasted peppers and cheese and on pizza with rosemary and black olives.

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I love cooked onions, and I love to cook them until they caramelize before using them in a recipe. Lately, I've been making French onion soup and I find myself with a major onion issue -- the damn things won't brown!

Today, I thin-sliced six sweet yellow onions and threw them in the stock pot with butter and olive oil. I added a little salt, a little black pepper, a little marjoram, a little honey, and let them go on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. An hour later, they were almost an onion puree, with a wonderful fragrance and flavor....but as blonde as Doris Day. In desperation, I reached for a bottle of red wine that was sitting on the counter, and added a dollop; once it cooked down, it gave me my nice caramel color I wanted (and added a really nice taste to the soup, too).

I have never had any trouble caramelizing onions before. I wonder if it's because I'm cooking a larger amount, in a vessel that has a relatively smaller cooking surface and higher sides? Can anyone advise me?


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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More onions and smaller cooking surface will slow things down, and it could be that this particular batch of onions has more moisture than other onions you've used or onions at different times of year. A wide flat rondeau or saute pan works well with a lot of onions. Give them more time. Eventually they'll brown.

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It's strange that you're getting different results than you have in the past. Also, to clarify, are you getting browning that's stuck to the pan surface rather than remaining on the onions, or really no browning at all ?

My first reaction is to say, use more oil/butter (how much do you use ?), and/or go at least to medium-high heat. I agree that it might help to use a wider pan, then (deglaze and) transfer the onions to the soup pot once they're brown.

I don't have much patience for it, so I brown-fry onions over a high heat, stirring quite actively (if you're looking for the onions to retain more body, you can brown more quickly by stirring less frequently). Don't be scared of having even 2 - 3 tbsp of fat per 3 or 4-inch onion. Again, if you use a separate pan you can always leave some behind.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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I've noticed lately that the particularly sweet onions, such as Vidalia, just will not brown as well as the regular yellow/brown skinned onions.

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Salt the onions prior to cooking and you will get an increased caramelizing effect.

Martin Lersh at Khymos, also recommends adding a pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to increase the onions' alkilinity as an accelerant to obtaining Maillard browning. His article is here.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Salt the onions prior to cooking and you will get an increased caramelizing effect.

Martin Lersh at Khymos, also recommends adding a pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to increase the onions' alkilinity as an accelerant to obtaining Maillard browning. His article is here.

Awesomeness! I love the khymos blog, as well as khymos.org. It is such a wonderful resource! Not only is it filled with stellar info (I love the flavor pairing sector) but it provides loads of links to other helpful sites as well.

Plus, Mr. Lersh actually took the time to respond to the email I sent in, which thoroughly impressed me!


Edited by clove2873 (log)

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I have had that happen recently, and after a few patient hours I threw in a little sugar - this usually speeds things up. As well I sometimes add a splash of balsalmic vinegar which colours (and flavours!) things up nicely.

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I use a couple of pinches of baking soda and it really speeds up the browning. Before, I had no patience to caramelize onions, now it's no problem. (The bicarbonate of soda also helps to brown cookies and other things.)

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Add more salt to them. Salt pulls the moisture out of your onions, which cooks off and allows the sugar in the product to carmelize faster. Sugar would speed things up as well.

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"sweet" onions actually have less sugar than normal onions. The sweetness comes from the lack of sulfur compounds that mask the onion's sweetness. White onions are the best for caramelization.


PS: I am a guy.

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"sweet" onions actually have less sugar than normal onions. The sweetness comes from the lack of sulfur compounds that mask the onion's sweetness. White onions are the best for caramelization.

Shalmanese beat me to the punch. You shouldn't use "sweet" onions if you are going to cook them, because they not only have less sugar but less flavor overall. "Sweet" onions should only be used if they will be consumed raw. Otherwise they're not so special.


--

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Thanks, everyone. Did not know about the bicarb of soda trick; I will try that. Nor did I know that sweet onions are not the best for caramelization; sweet onions being all I ever buy, if I have the choice. I didn't want to add any more salt because I was afraid the later addition of the beef broth would make the soup too salty, and I have a real aversion to too-salty foods.

Blether, I got no browning at all, until I really turned up the heat and then I got just a bit. The only difference I can see is that the ratio of onion volume to area of pan bottom was greater than it normally is. They did seem to have a good bit of moisture in them, and it was not until after I turned the heat up that I got rid of the moisture. It might have been if I had kept at it, I would have gotten the caramelization eventually on the higher heat.

I will try white onions next time I want French onion soup.

By the way, rather than the French-bread-and-Gruyere traditional big crouton on top, I made grilled cheese sandwiches on whole wheat with Fontina and Havarti. Easier to eat, and just as good; they stand up admirably to being dipped into the soup.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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And depending on the recipe you are using them in, a very easy (though not quick) way to "caramelize" onions is to slice them to fill up a small crock pot. Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil, a bit of butter, sprinkle a generous amount of salt and let it cook on low for 24 hrs. Yes, I said 24 hrs. In 12-15 hrs it will look brown, but for that deep color, it will take about 20-24 hrs.

I usually make it in a big batch and keep it in the fridge for burgers, soup, almost anything.

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"sweet" onions actually have less sugar than normal onions. The sweetness comes from the lack of sulfur compounds that mask the onion's sweetness. White onions are the best for caramelization.

Shalmanese beat me to the punch. You shouldn't use "sweet" onions if you are going to cook them, because they not only have less sugar but less flavor overall. "Sweet" onions should only be used if they will be consumed raw. Otherwise they're not so special.

AHA! Another bothersome question answered! Never could figure out why my pot roast was "flat" when I used vidalia onions as the basis for the onion goop (technical term, that) that flavors the gravy and meat so well! :blink:


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I have been using a Thermomix for caramelizing onions. I never use sweet onions but do add a bit of balsamic vinegar. I haven't tried adding any sodium bicarbonate.

The Thermomix allows me to start the process and occasionally check up on things so it really does not divert me from other tasks. When I used to caramelize onions manually it seems that I had to focus almost entirely on the onions and got little else done.

Hope this helps,

Phil

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Blether, I got no browning at all, until I really turned up the heat and then I got just a bit. The only difference I can see is that the ratio of onion volume to area of pan bottom was greater than it normally is. They did seem to have a good bit of moisture in them, and it was not until after I turned the heat up that I got rid of the moisture. It might have been if I had kept at it, I would have gotten the caramelization eventually on the higher heat.

For myself, I'm interested to hear of the baking soda idea. A new one on me, and not something that you'd come up with intuitively.

A year or two ago, I remember someone posted in the Indian forum about an experiment he'd done measuring the temperature of the mixture as he brown-fried onions. It comes up to 100C, then stays there for a long time (10-15 minutes ?) as the water boils off, before slowly climbing towards a frying temperature.

For any given recipe, there has to be a sweet spot in the oil/onion mix, somewhere between a single piece of onion in a pot of deep oil and a pot full of onions with just enough oil to coat them. I've been toying with the idea of deep-frying the onions for North Indian stuff, but not yet gotten round to trying it.


Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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