There are a few simple things in the kitchen that can skyrocket the flavor of a dish. Caramelized onions are one of these things. Deeply browned onion slices, cooked for a long time in a little butter, have a rich sweetness and smoky flavor that make any dish taste better.
Try adding a few caramelized onions to hamburgers, mashed potatoes, or a warm root vegetable salad. We like soup made with homemade broth and caramelized onions, and we love them on pizza too. See steps and tips for caramelized onions after the jump...
1. Peel 3-4 onions and cut into slices. It doesn't really matter how thick they are. Heat about 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat in a heavy frying pan, and when it foams, add the onions. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently.
2. As the onions cook they will gradually begin to turn golden, then a deep brown. As they do, keep an eye on them - you don't want them to actually burn. Let them cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often and turning the heat down if they're beginning to burn. They will shrink as their moisture evaporates. When they are a deep brown, take them off the heat.
Sauce Tip: Take the onions out of the pan. You will see lots of little bits still sticking. Turn the heat to high and add about half a cup of wine or stock. Let this boil, stirring and scraping the pan as it reduces. When it has reduced to a syrupy consistency pour over the onions or over your dinner - this is terrific over meat or roasted vegetables.
Storage Tip: You can make big batches of caramelized onions and freeze them in individual-sized portions. Take them out and thaw to put on sandwiches and salads, or to add to a last-minute pasta dish.
Check out RealSimple's ideas for more ways to use caramelized onions.