Thursday, January 6, 2011

Caramelizing onions (for the freezer)

Caramelizing onions (for the freezer)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Prepare onions by peeling and slicing. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a roasting pan or cookie sheet. Add onions and then drizzle a bit more oil on the onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add fresh thyme leaves (optional). Roast at 350° F for approximately 2 hours, stirring with tongs every 30 minutes. Allow onions to cool, then store them in your fridge for several days or freeze for later use.

Caramelizing onions, by slowly cooking them in a little olive oil until they are richly brown, is a wonderful way to pull flavor out of this simple ingredient. Onions are naturally sweet, when you cook onions slowly over an extended period of time, the natural sugars in the onions caramelize, making the result intensely flavorful and wonderful. Use these onions to top a baked potato, top a steak, add to French onion Soup or other soups and stews. Add to a pot roast or add to a gravy. They work great as a topping for pizza, focaccia or fajitas. Added to an onion dip is also a great option.

I love caramelized onions in several dishes but it is very time consuming and takes a large allocation of time just before dinner. I recently came across the idea of caramelizing a large batch of onions in the freezer to use for later dishes. The method is fantastic and is a huge time saver. The texture is affected slightly by the freezer but the flavor is the same. I avoid freezing raw onions due to the side effect of all my bread in the freezer smelling like onions but have loved the option of freezing these onions because they don’t impart the bitter raw onion smell plus they take up such a small amount of freezer space. What a great way to store a bunch of onions from the garden, plus have a huge time saver for preparing meals.

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