Monday, November 14, 2011

The Secret Recipe Club: Crockpot Caramelized Onions

One of my favorite smells in the whole world is the aroma that wafts into the air when onions and garlic sizzle in an oiled hot pan. I love that smell because that's how a majority of the dishes my mom cooks starts off... and I knew it was only a matter of time before we were enjoying something really good. Onions are a staple in my kitchen but aside from using them as an aromatic in most of the savory dishes I cook, I love onions as a condiment. Caramelized onions make for a great burger topping and they're great in sandwiches, with steaks and on top of meatloaves. Sure, you may have even made caramelized onions on the stovetop... but what about a crockpot?! These Crockpot Caramelized Onions are made by slow cooking sliced onions with pats of butter, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few springs of thyme in the comfort of your crockpot. It's so simple, everyone should try it...

I've used my crockpot for a number of things - soups, chilis, braised dishes, etc. It never occurred to me to use it to make caramelized onions! Especially when we're in tailgating season and everyone loves caramelized onions on their burgers, brats and hot dogs, this makes it easy to have the tasty condiment prepared ahead and with ease. It also is a great time to make them with the holidays coming up. Instead of using those canned french fried onions on top of the traditional green bean casserole, why not use these sweet caramelized onions instead? There are so many ways to use caramelized onions that it only makes sense to make a big batch in the crockpot with 5 ingredients.

When I made this, some of the onions got a bit more color than others, which I'm guessing is due to the fact that I didn't stir them while cooking. So if you make this, I would suggest stirring the onions every so often to get a more even color. I also experienced a little sogginess from cooking the onions and cooked the onions uncovered for the last hour. That helped a bit but I ultimately tossed them in a pan to finish them off a little more and evaporate any excess moisture. It could very well be my crockpot is a little funky in some spots so I plan on trying this recipe out again once I finish up my nice stash of caramelized onions.

I prepared this recipe as part of this month's Secret Recipe Club. By participating, I was assigned a food blog to check out and try a recipe from their site. This recipe comes from Theresa of Island Vittles. She and her husband moved from Vancouver (Canada) to Pender Island, a small island on the west coast of British Columbia. She went to culinary school and soon began her blog to share her experiences in the kitchen. I was drawn to the recipe for Crockpot Caramelized Onions because it allowed me to use my crockpot for something different and I love caramelized onions anyway! So stop by her blog and give it a look... I'm sure you'll find something delicious to try. I know I did!

Crockpot Caramelized Onions
recipe from Island Vittles

6 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3 springs fresh thyme
2 pinches of salt

Place the sliced onions into the crockpot. Top with the tablespoons of butter, olive oil, thyme and salt. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours; stirring every hour or so if possible. If there is too much moisture after 8 hours, remove the cover and continue to cook for another 30 minutes to 2 more hours uncovered.