Caramelized onions are like a super secret flavor weapon. They’re rich, sweet and can make even the simplest dish taste like it’s been cooking all day. I love slathering them on sandwiches, mixing them into omelettes and using them as a base for myriad of soups, dips and spreads. Making a proper batch of caramelized onions isn’t difficult per se, but it does take a good bit of time and supervision. The good thing is they can be made in bulk and then frozen for use at a later date. The effort is totally worth it, and makes for a nice, lazy Sunday afternoon project.
Not convinced? Keep your eyes peeled next week, as I’ll be posting a killer recipe for a savory pumpkin tart with caramelized onions and goat cheese that you’re definitely going to want to make. Get a head start on the onions this weekend, and you’ll be able to throw that tart together just in time for the big Turkey Day celebration.
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 2 large Spanish or sweet onions, thinly sliced*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- water as needed
- Heat the butter or oil in a pan over medium heat and drop in the onions. Season with salt, stir, and then pour in about 1/4 cup of water. Cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes. Open the lid, give them a stir, then cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes until they become very soft. Continue cooking, uncovered, and allow the liquid to evaporate. Stir in the thyme, if using, and then once all the liquid has dried up, deglaze the pan with the wine. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom so they can dissolve in the liquid. Once the wine evaporates, deglaze the pan again with a few tablespoons of water, scrape the bottom, and cook until the pan dries out again. Continue this process until the onions reach a deep golden brown color. It can take up to an hour for this to happen, so be patient, and don't take your eyes off of the pan for too long. The onions can turn from perfectly caramelized to burnt in a matter of seconds.
- Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the onions to a container, allow to cool and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. For longer storage, the onions can be frozen for up to 6 months.
- *I find sweet onions to caramelize a bit faster than Spanish onions, but they both work fine.