This technique produces a incredibly sweet-tasting result. Depending on what you are serving the onions with, you can enrich their flavor by adding herbs such as rosemary and thyme or spices such as black pepper, chili peppers or cloves.
Omit the fat, if preferred. The result will not be quite as rich, and you will need to be even more careful as the onions cook; reduce the heat and cook them for a longer time.
Stored in an airtight container, caramelized onions can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, and, wrapped properly, they can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Servings: 2 cups
- 2 pounds yellow onions
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar
- 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
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Halve the onions, remove the tough outer layers and cut the onion halves into thin slices.
Place the onion slices in a plastic bowl, sprinkle with salt and sugar, and toss. Set aside for at least 10 minutes. (There is no maximum time, although some unwanted but harmless browning may occur after a couple of hours.)
Melt the butter, if using, over medium heat in a wide iron pot or skillet. Add the onion. Reserve any liquid left in the bowl. Cook over medium heat under close observation, stirring or tossing often with a spatula, until the first browning is visible. Reduce the heat and add the liquid from the bowl. For the best result, reduce the heat to very low, cover the pot and cook for an hour or more, stirring every 10 minutes or so. For a shorter process, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook under close observation for about 20 minutes.
From Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Pam Kendrick and Tom Wilkinson.
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