The seductive aroma of onions cooking all day perfumes every corner of my house, yet I'm not lifting a finger. No standing at the stove with a wooden spoon, no turning the flame down, down, down to make sure nothing is burning. Caramelizing brings out the natural sugar in onions, resulting in a condiment you can use in everything from soup to scrambled eggs, in a panini or on top of pizza. If you've ever wondered how to make caramelized onions in the slow cooker, or whether it's even possible, I'm here to tell you that you can, and you must, because nothing could be easier. Use regular yellow onions, not Vidalia or other sweet onions that contain more water. I trim five pounds ($1.99) of ordinary yellow onions down to a bit less than four pounds, slice them in the food processor, and cook them for 9 hours. I've been putting caramelized onions in everything lately, and I'll share a couple of the ways I use them later this week. A batch of onions will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks. You won't be able to resist their allure.
How to make caramelized onions in the slow cooker
Makes 4 cups.
5 lbs yellow onions, peeled and trimmed
Cooking spray (I use olive oil cooking spray)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Spray the ceramic insert of a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
Thinly slice the onions (a food processor makes quick work of this), and pile the onions into the slow cooker. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, and stir with a rubber spatula. The cooker will seem impossibly full, but that's fine.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 8 hours, stirring 2 or 3 times if you happen to be at home. The onions will reduce to fill less than a third of the cooker, and will turn golden brown and soft. Then, uncover the cooker, and continue to cook on HIGH for 1 hour, to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
Remove the cooked onions from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon, let cool, and pack into containers with tight-fitting lids. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Kale, mushroom and caramelized onion breakfast casserole
Clam, bacon and caramelized onion pita pizza
Lemon onion hummus
Whole wheat pizza with pumpkin, black beans and caramelized onions
Brown rice and almond pilaf
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Braised short rib sandwich with caramelized onion marmalade, from Pinch My Salt
Broccoli rabe with caramelized onions, from Simply Recipes
Warm green lentil salad with caramelized onions, feta cheese and pears, from Andrea Meyers
Horseradish meatloaf with caramelized onions and sour cream-horseradish sauce, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mujadara (rice, lentils and caramelized onion pilaf), from Herbivoracious
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