It's funny how precisely the weather seems to adhere to the calendar year; the first day of fall immediately brought vibrant leaves and cooler breezes to Georgia. My appetite also succumbs to these changes and my urge for comfort food grows strong—out with vine-ripe tomatoes and grilled summer corn, bring on the hearty braises and savory stews.
So many recipes in fall and winter, though, seem to be for one-pot dishes and all-inclusive casseroles, which seem to keep me at a loss for easy yet appealing vegetables to serve on the side. There's always the modest baked sweet potato or a simple tossed salad: quite good, if not a little boring. And while I love the autumn holidays' many celebratory vegetable options, most are far too rich to offer on a regular basis.
Last year I became quite addicted to glazing, using the technique on everything from carrots to Brussels sprouts to chicken sausage. This week I decided to add onions to that list. I followed the very reliable method I developed last fall for maple-glazed turnips, and happily they turned out like a dream.
These balsamic-glazed pearl onions are sweet, tart, and savory all at the same time. They are quick enough for a weeknight (even quicker if you use pre-frozen and peeled), special enough for company, and perfect for the holidays. It's guaranteed to pair well with others, and is a definite keeper recipe for my cold weather rotation. That's more a triple threat if you ask me!
Balsamic Glazed Pearl OnionsServes 4
2 (10-ounce) bags pearl onions, red and/or white
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut off the root end and gently squeeze from the tip to remove the outer peel. (I place the cut end against my knife while squeezing to prevent the onion layers from separating.)
In a large skillet or braising pan, melt the butter over medium heat until foamy. Add the onions and sauté for one minute. Add the chicken stock and balsamic vinegar to the onions and cover. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil; cook for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to cook until the sauce is very thick and glossy, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. (You can garnish with freshly chopped herbs, if desired.)
(Images: Nealey Dozier)