If you love cooking as much as I do, I am pretty sure at some point of time, you must have been enthused by the flavor of Carmelized Onions, be it as a topping on your Pizza, or a garnish on your Pasta or Salad, and I've received several requests to post about how to make them at home. The first thing you notice about these Onions is that they are "Golden-Brown". But the more important fact is how they smell and taste; unlike regularly sauteed onions, Carmelized Onions have a unique flavor, fragrance and texture, which is brought upon by the chemical reactions between sugar, water content in the onions, and of course, the heat in your skillet. Here's a scientific explanation for carmelized onions, if you are interested, but for home cooks like me just looking for a simple tutorial on How to Carmelize Onions at home, just hop ahead and read on! [Image courtesy: Fine Cooking]
Making Caramelized Onions at home is not as difficult a job; the key is to cook them on medium-low heat, a process which is called Sweating, and which allows all the water to release into the pan and then evaporate slowly. ensuring that your onions will be soft and caramelized all the way through. Here's what you need, in addition to patience, and some spare time on your hand (not when the kids are cranky for dinner!!)
1/2 cup clarified butter or olive oil
2 cups of onions of your choice(white, yellow, or red) - chopped thin
2 tsp granulated sugar
Hot water as needed
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar as soon as the onions have been coated with butter.
Continue cooking until the onions are deep brown and candied, and look browned & crisper from the edges; this can take up to 35-45 minutes. Add an occasional tablespoon of hot water if the pan becomes too dry, or if you see that the onions are sticking to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper to overcome the sugar, and also to help preserve their sheen or gloss.
Now you can use them in any recipe that calls for Caramelized Onions. Remember, the trick is in the right amount of sugar, and using medium-low flame, and slowly letting the onions get cooked; patience is the key, so hurrying will not help you get those burnt edges that are so typical for caramelized onions.
Note: The more the quantity, the longer it will take to caramelize your onions! Also, the sugar helps to accelerate the browning process, but you can skip it or lower the quantity if using red onions, as they have more water content than their white counterparts.
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