11.30.2009

How To: Caramelize an Onion

Well, another first for my Little Kitchen... caramelizing an onion. This was starting to feel like a secret ingredient to me on great sandwiches, pizzas and even soups. These salty and sweet onions seem to make everything a little gourmet and a little special so I decided it was time to experiment. In my experiment, I found two keys to great onions... time and temperature...lots of time and low temperature. Do not be scared by the lots of time. Although it can take up to an hour for great caramelized onions, it is not necessarily hands-on time. You need to give these a good stir every once in a while, but I made these while I cleaned the kitchen and made dinner one night. I was also able to use the onions all week on sandwiches and pizza. I have to say they are my new secret ingredient on my chicken pesto pizza. So make a batch and use them all week.


How To: Caramelize an Onion
1.  Slice off the top and root ends of the onions and peel.
2.  Thinly slice the onion.
3.  Heat a wide saute pan over medium high heat.  Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil (about a teaspoon per onion).
4.  Spread onions evenly so that they cook evenly.
5.  After 10 minutes of cooking, sprinkle with salt.
6.  Gently stir onions every few minutes. The key is to give the onions enough time to brown, but to stir them before they burn.  Allow to cook for about an hour.
7.  If onions are close to burning, lower heat a little and add a little extra oil.
8.  After about 30 minutes, scrape the pan of all brown bits and every ten minutes as the caramelization process continues.  Cook until the onions are brown and a little bit mushy.  You might need additional time if you have a large batch.
9.  Optional: At the end of caramelization, add a little bit of balsamic vinegar to help deglaze the pan and add extra flavor.
10.  Use immediately or store in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

At the beginning...


After 15 minutes...





After 45 minutes...




After 1 hour...




The onions made this Chicken Pesto Pizza extra special.  I only put them on half in case we didn't like them, but that was a mistake.  They are the best part of the pizza!

5 comments:

  1. I love carmelized onions, but have never thought of making them in batches to keep on hand to use throughout the week - what a great idea! And your pizza looks fantastic!

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  2. Yep, you hit it right on the nose. Always thought these were too complicated or gourmet but they look very simple! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Yum. Good tip. I am usually not that patient, but looks like this could be done easily while doing other things. I must have that pizza!

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  4. you hit it right on the nose. Always thought these were too complicated or gourmet but they look very simple! Thanks for sharing!

    Work from home India

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