14
   

Fried onions. Do tell.

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:29 pm
@ossobuco,
It wouldn't be done in a slow cooker, would it? <hopeful tone>
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:50 pm
@ossobuco,
The column is from a favorite food writer of mine in the LA Times, Russ Parsons.
Article here -
link THE CALIFORNIA COOK
Slow cook onions, and the results are delicious
Caramelizing onions over several hours creates a complex taste and smooth texture that can be savored in just about any dish or as a spread.
By Russ Parsons


January 21, 2009
It's probably only available for a week before the LAT puts a fee on it

I won't quote the entire article, but some clips. To me it's an article to keep.

clip - Such is the miracle of long, slow cooking. The happy result of a marriage between 5 pounds of onions and four hours to kill, these onions caramelize to a deep, mahogany reddish-brown with a marmalade-like consistency.

There is sweetness, yes, but there is so much else, a powerful, mouth-filling deliciousness that can't be described better than "savory." And the texture is buttery enough that they can actually be used as a fat replacement.

clip -
Cooking caveats

But just because there are no long lists of ingredients or complicated techniques does not mean caramelizing onions is without pitfalls. The main one -- and it's a dish-killer -- is that caramelizing can come awfully close to burning, and once you've scorched the onions there's no way to get rid of that bitter flavor but to dump them out, wipe the pan clean and start over.

To avoid this, cook the onions in the heaviest pot you have over the lowest heat possible for much of the time, stirring as often as you can. That should be at least every 15 to 20 minutes for most of the cooking, shortening to 5 to 10 minutes when you get down to the end stages.

The pot should be really big, too. I usually use my nearly 7-quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven to cook my onions and at the start it's almost full to the top. But the onions wilt and shrink dramatically during cooking. Sprinkle them with a little salt to help draw out the moisture and just enough oil to keep them from sticking. Cover the pot and place it over medium-low heat.

After about 20 minutes you'll find that the onions have started to soften and after about 45 minutes, they will be swimming in moisture -- it's amazing just how much water an onion contains. At this point, you can increase the heat to medium and remove the lid to evaporate as much of that liquid as possible.

After about 75 minutes, the liquid will be very reduced and the onions will be the color of oatmeal. Here's where it starts to get tricky, because there's no longer enough moisture to keep the onions from scorching. You need to reduce the heat as low as it will go (use a flame tamer if necessary), and be vigilant about stirring every 10 to 15 minutes (I found this was a really good chore while I was ripping CDs onto my wife's iPod).

When you reach the two-hour point, there will be almost no water left. The onions will have darkened a bit and will taste sweet, if slightly bland. Start stirring every five to 10 minutes.

At the three-hour point they'll be getting really close. The color will have darkened substantially into a reddish-gold and the flavor will have become notably more complex (you'll also find that your house will smell absolutely amazing).

When the onions have darkened just a bit further and you can hear them really sizzling despite the low heat, they'll be done. They should still be moist and flexible, a bit like a shredded orange peel marmalade. Depending on just how low your flame will go, the full cooking will take from just over three hours to just under four.

That's a lot of time, but not a lot of effort. And the good news is that caramelized onions are one of those things that are just as easy to make in large amounts as small. Once cooked, the onions can be used immediately or stored tightly covered in the refrigerator (there will be only a couple cups of them).

Though the word "caramelized" is associated with sweetness (it refers specifically to sugar browning, after all), you don't want to do this with so-called "sweet onions" such as Vidalias or Mauis. That's because those onions aren't actually sweeter than regular onions.

Parsons goes on to explain about the differences in the onions and, further along, how to cut up 5 pounds of onions - see link above

Carmellized onions - recipe

Potato Gratin with Carmellized Onions and Prosciutto - recipe





dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:56 pm
@ehBeth,
I have had a bad smell near my stove for a few days.

I was finally able to track it down last night!

It was a liquefied onion.

I think I must have had it for a long time.

I quite LIKE fried onions, but it seems I very rarely HAVE them.

When I do, they are part of a base for something, not all on their ownsome.

I do sometimes make French Onion Soup for dinner parties...but the onions are cooked so gently for that...do they count as fried?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:56 pm
@ehBeth,
And I thought my cooking my onions an hour was long, hah.

The articles show photos as the process goes along..
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 05:39 pm
@ossobuco,
I don't think I'd be able to resist the aroma of those slow cooking onions. I'd be taking "test tastes" to see if they're done yet. The crock pot would be empty long before there was much carmelization, I'm afraid. But, what a pleasant aroma!
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 05:44 pm
@dlowan,
I wouldn't call the onions in French Onion soup fried. Good nonetheless.

onnnnionnnns

~~~

We're finally on the last 5 pound bag from that onion-buying binge I went on. I can hardly wait to get back out there and look for interesting onions to bring home.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 05:45 pm
@ossobuco,
It's a great link. I've been in and out of it this afternoon.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 06:23 pm
I love onions slow cooked with pork chops and potato slices. OOOOOH the complexity of slow cooking is the best.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 06:26 pm
@farmerman,
just pulling out a small pork roast slow cooked in onions...

now to make gravy.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 11:35 pm
@Rockhead,
Thats what Im talkin about.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 04:41 pm
@ehBeth,
I'm at it again. I noticed we were down to the last onion Shocked how did that happen?

Came back from shopping with 3 pounds of Vidalias, 3 pounds of some other kind of sweet onion, 3 pounds of yellow cooking onions, some mushrooms and baby bok choy. A little garlic and I'll have a perfect meal.

No, I am NOT cooking all 9 pounds at once.

Not this time.
alex240101
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 May, 2009 09:13 pm
@ehBeth,
Planted over fifty onion plants. Need mesh sack now.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2011 02:57 pm
@alex240101,
I hope the harvest was good.

spotted this and figured this onion thread was a great place to drop it off

http://expertscolumn.com/content/how-caramelize-onions-easy-way

Quote:
Caramelizing is a method of cooking a vegetable slowly until the natural sugars develop a sweet, complex flavor. The deeply flavorful, sweet taste of caramelized onions enhances many main dishes, side dishes, appetizers, or toppings for pastries or pizza. This is an easy method, just be sure to keep an eye on them so that they do not burn.

The cooking time differs for every variety of onion. For this process, choose the sweeter varieties like Walla Walla and Vidalia. They caramelize more quickly than others. Determine the number of people you will be serving. Normally, three of four onions will be good for six people.

Start by cutting the onions into long 1/4-inch strands. Here’s a tip to prevent teary-eyes while slicing the onions. Cut the onion into half then slice vertically from the root or basal plate towards the tunic without having to remove the roots. That is the part that contains the substance that hurts our eyes. Do this with the rest of the onions. When you’re done, just slice off the root part and the strands will be ready for cooking.

Get a large non-stick or cast iron skillet and pour olive oil (use two tablespoons for each large onion) and heat the pan to medium. Place the onions into the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Stir continuously to ensure that all the pieces will be covered with olive oil well. The more onions in your pot, the longer the cooking time will be. Spread the onions evenly throughout the pan. As the onions sweat, the sugar that is in them will come out. You have stir occasionally, about once every minute. It will start caramelizing in about 30 minutes. Add an occasional tablespoon of hot water if the pan becomes too dry. The onions are ready when they turn into a light caramel brown. Some people prefer a rich mahogany brown color. Just make sure the onions don’t get burned, or else you need to start from the beginning. What you would try to achieve is to transform them into an aromatic, nutty brown treat. If you over-caramelize the onion, you will get a bitter, burned flavor but if you keep your heat low this should not be a problem.

Caramelized onions are best served warm. They have a tendency to get thick and have a different texture if they cool off too much before you eat them. Caramelized onions may be made in advance and can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days to be used for other dished like pastries or pizza.

JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2011 03:02 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
choose the sweeter varieties like Walla Walla


Have you got to have a Walla Walla yet, Beth?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2011 03:06 pm
@JTT,
I've never seen one in the stores here. I have had a few other varieties of sweet onions in recent years, but no Walla Wallas yet. I keep checking at the farmers' markets in season.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2011 03:07 pm
This is one of my favorite threads, ehbeth. Sigh.
Thinking, real caramelized onions on a tasty pizza dough, wonderful. Only have done that once..

I read somewhere that butter is better re sweetness - thinking, that may be true, what do I know, maybe it's true for quicker resolution - but I'm a long time fan of Parsons. (He even wrote me back re a back and forth about street markets, what a sweetie). His article about coffee a few years ago was a saver, and I lost it in a computer tharn.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2011 03:10 pm
@ossobuco,
I've got some naan in the fridge - naan on the George Foreman with caramelized onions and a handful of shredded/grated cheese, some diced tomatoes and peppers mmmmmmm
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2011 03:11 pm
@JTT,
I'd forgotten you were the person who first recommended Walla Wallas to me on this thread. I knew I was looking for them - but had forgotten the source. I'll try to remember to post here when I finally get a taste of Walla Walla.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2011 03:15 pm
@ehBeth,
From back on the first page -

I got the mustard with onion and a little bit of lemon squeezed thing from a treatment of grilled salmon (on a bed of onions) at Hurricane Kate's back in north north. RH was right on too.

It was one of those flavor combos that you run across that flit right into your hypothalamus, or something like that, at least in my particular hypothalamus (or whatever). I feel similarly about a few other food combos, that I derive some brain pleasure attachment, sort of like glue.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2011 03:19 pm
@ossobuco,
When Thomas was here one time, we talked about the caramelized fried onions his grandmother made. As I remember, mine weren't all successful that time, so he had advice that made sense, that I now forget. Thomas, where are you?
 

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