Cry Me a River

I like caramelized onions and onion jams and other savory condiments, but making caramelized onions always seemed like a lot of work for a little payoff. Then I had an “Aha!” moment and Googled “Crock pot Caramelized Onions” and hit the jackpot.There were dozens of pages with more or less the same recipe (if one can call what is involved a recipe). And I’m going to offer you the quick and dirty on a tasty tidbit that is easy to make and goes with many things.

My version requires very little – Onions, of course, a little salt, a little oil (your choice—could be butter could be olive oil, could be Wesson—you decide) and, if you want, a little balsamic vinegar and a little brown sugar.

I use as many onions as my crock pot will hold, usually between 3 and 4 lbs. I use about a half teaspoon of salt, but you can adjust for taste(we just don’t use much salt for various reasons). I use a tablespoon or so of oil or butter or a combination. Some recipes call for up to half a cup of oil, but I have not gone with that much—though really, more butter usually doesn’t hurt anything.
Peel the onions, slice them thin (I’ve just used a sharp knife (cried more)  and I’ve used a mandolin (cried less)—you could use a food processor if you prefer) pile them into the crock pot.

Add the salt and oil, toss a little put the lid on and cook all day while you are at work, or all night while you are in bed—10 hours on low works for me, but if you have a fast crock pot, maybe a little less time.

Then, check out your onions. They will be cooked down and yummy. I usually will stir in a little balsamic vinegar (a spoonful you choose the size of spoon ; 0) and maybe a soup spoon full of brown sugar.  I put the lid askew so steam can escape, and cook them down some more. The balsamic and brown sugar add a bit of richness and color. I have not tried adding them at the beginning, but that would probably be fine. I cook them down until I like the color–another hour or so– and there isn’t much liquid left. I drain what liquid there is to use in cooking (Yummy in rice) and store the onions in the fridge in jars. I hear they can be frozen in various serving sizes, but so far we have gone through them fast enough that just the jars work.

We’ve used these on burgers, with fajitas, with chicken, with steaks and on crackers with cream cheese. We’ve put them on sandwiches and beside omelets. I am thinking I’ll add beef stock this fall and make French onion soup to top with croutons and cheese under the broiler. People we’ve served them to have all asked how to make them. I may use them on occasion as a hostess gift!
Philip is a huge fan of these and believes our house should never be without them again. And, as easy as they are, that may turn out to be true.

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