Fool-Proof, Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

caramelized-onions4

I can eat caramelized onions on and in just about anything. Sandwiches. Salad. Stew. Pizza. On toasted bread. A spoon (Yes. All by themselves and you will not judge me). They’re just that good. They’re such a simple ingredient that can really bump up a dish in a way that other condiments just can’t.

The thing about making caramelized onions is that the process can be both long and tricky. You have to have the time and patience to let the onions cook VERRRRRY low and slow over the stove top in the skillet. You also have to know when and how not to let them cook TOO much so that they scorch and burn.

caramelized-onions1

I won’t lie, they can be a labor of love that fortunately turns out to be well worth it. But to be sure…it can be a labor and for those that are uncomfortable in the kitchen, making caramelized onions just may not seem worth all the effort.

Until now, that is.

All of us caramelized onion lovers–both those who love to cook and those who don’t–listen up. I’m sharing a recipe today that is about to make all of our lives more easier.

caramelized-onions3

I decided to see if I could bypass all that extra-ness with hovering over a skillet of onions waiting on them to caramelize,and see if the slow cooker could do the job just as well. I was totally right. It totally could. And now I’m just left kinda wondering how and why I haven’t done this a loooong time ago.

Alright so, look. You can’t mess this recipe up, guys. Seriously. I don’t care how much of a bad/challenged/struggling cook you think you are, look me in my eyes: (ok, so you can’t do that actually , but pay attention closely.)

YOU.CAN’T.MESS.THIS.RECIPE.UP.

caramelized-onions2

This is the like The Elves and the Shoemaker fairy tale that we’ve all been waiting for. Literally, all you have to do is leave your ingredients out overnight in the slow cooker (the elves in this case), let it do its magic, then wake up in the morning and behold the wonder that it’s left for you to partake in. You sprinkle in some sugar, wait a little bit more and BAM. You’re done.

That’s….it. I’m not kidding. I almost couldn’t believe it myself. But the onions were there, finished. And soooo delicious.

A few notes: my #1 onion onion of choice will always be the sweet Vidalia. However, I do enjoy red onions too and when caramelized they take on their own sharp sweetness that goes great with pizza and sandwiches. White onions…meh. I’m not a fan of their peppery bite, but if that’s what floats your boat, have at it Charlie. I’ve also included an option in the recipe for those that prefer a more vinegary acidic flavor to their onions rather than sweetness. Either way, you’re going to be happy with these results. I guarantee it.

Happy Fiesta Friday #144, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.

Foolproof Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Recipe by Jess@CookingIsMySport

Print

Ingredients

  • 4-5 large sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • About 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of light brown sugar OR white wine, or balsamic vinegar (This really just depends on whether you want your onions sweet or acidic. It’s up to you.)

 

Directions

Spray the bottom of a 4-5 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

Spread the onions into the slow cooker. Drizzle in the vegetable oil in between them as you layer them.

Sprinkle with an even layer of salt and pepper.

Stir together to make sure they’re all evenly coated.

Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours. Towards the 8 or 10th hour, remove the lid and stir the onions. Sprinkle the brown sugar (or wine, or vinegar) evenly over them and re-cover, leaving the lid slightly cracked. Let cook for 1-2 more hours, until they’ve reached the dark color/caramelization you prefer.

Serve on sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.

Onion Naan

Onion Naan 1

So, it’s been over two years since I last made naan-style bread.

That’s a long time for me to wait to make something that I enjoy so much. But there was a pretty valid reason for it.If you’ve been following me and my blog for a while then you might remember this story. But if you haven’t been following and/or don’t remember then…what the heck? I’ll recap.

See, the last time that I did make naan, I kiiiiiinda started a fire in my oven.

Onion Naan 5

Oh, yeah. You read that right.

I made one or two pretty serious (and in retrospect, quite silly) mistakes and those mistakes ended up starting a fire. Not to worry. It wasn’t a huge one. No extinguisher was needed. 911 was not called. Everyone is fine. But it still kinda freaked me out.

Since it was my first time making naan I had done some research and seen that the majority of chefs and recipes recommended making it on a pizza stone in the oven with the heat cranked up nice and high–as in, as hot as it could possibly get in order to get those  lovely dark blistered spots on the surface of the naans.

Onion Naan 6

Since I did have a pizza stone, I figured that I should keep up with Joneses and go ahead and use it. The problem came around after the dough had had its final rest and it was time to actually cook them. I was supposed to brush them with melted butter, then plop them down on the pizza stone for about 1-2 minutes per side.

These…were not very good instructions.

In retrospect I really cannot believe I was so stupid. I mean…extremely high heat and melted grease just don’t typically mix well together in any capacity. I should’ve known better and known to make the judgment call to just brush the butter on AFTER the naans had done cooking. But I didn’t.

Onion Naan 7

So, what happened was, the butter was sliding off the naan and onto the pizza stone. This wasn’t such a big deal in the beginning. But then, it started sliding off the stone and onto the oven floor. The 500 degree fahrenheit oven floor. You see where this is going, right? After about the third or fourth naan, there was a mini flare up in the oven. I screamed. Then I shut the oven off, walked out of the kitchen and sat down in a chair to calm down.

About oh…fifteen minutes later I went back in the kitchen, feeling pretty calm and chill. I pulled out a non-stick skillet from the cabinet,  put it over the stovetop and  turned the heat on medium.

Then, I finished the rest of my naans. They were delicious. Fast forward two years later. I was making an Indian entree dish for the first time and I just knew that it wasn’t going to feel complete without some from-scratch naan bread to eat with on the side.

Onion Naan 3

I was prepared for it this time. I knew that I could probably go ahead and use the pizza stone again without having the same incident that I did before, but with summer fast approaching and a tiny kitchen through which the A/C doesn’t ventilate as well as it could, who feels like cranking up the oven to a million degrees? Not me. So I just went ahead and used my non-stick skillet to cook my naans once again. And as you can see, it didn’t force a sacrifice at all on getting the lovely blistered prints on the dough.

Onion Naan 4

Notes on the actual recipe: Dice the onions as small as you possibly can. When onions get VERY small and thin and are exposed to high heat, they sometimes disintegrate. This actually will work in your favor; the flavor of the onion becomes even more absorbed in the dough that way and it’s more tha flavor that you want and not so much a chunk of onion in your mouth. There is flexibility in using regular butter or vegetable oil in the recipe, but I’m going to go ahead and insist that you make an effort to use the ghee. As someone who has made it both ways, there IS a noticeable difference in the taste when using ghee as opposed to vegetable oil. Plus, ghee is something that can usually be found down the ethnic/foreign foods aisle of most standard grocery stores.

Notes aside, This bread is SO good. The onion flavor is just outstanding. I actually prefer this recipe to the one I’ve used before; the bread comes out VERY chewy and tender on the inside and also reheats VERY well in the microwave whereas sometimes leftover naans can have a tendency to get tough. Really good stuff here, guys.

Happy Fiesta Friday weekend #121 as well. Happy Memorial Day to all of us in the States 😉

***********************************************

Onion Naan

Recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit

Print

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface and hands
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)*
  • 2 tablespoons melted ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil plus more

*I didn’t have any yogurt at the time that I made this; instead I used 1 cup of buttermilk. It worked fine, you just may not need to use it all.

Directions

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 100°. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Whisk 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl to blend. Add yeast mixture, onion, yogurt, and 2 tablespoons ghee. Mix dough until blended but still shaggy.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead until a smooth dough forms, adding flour as needed (dough will be sticky), about 5 minutes. Lightly grease another large bowl with ghee, place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and divide into 10 pieces. Using floured hands, roll each piece into a ball on a lightly floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest 10 minutes

Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat with ghee. Working with 1 piece at a time, stretch dough with your hands or roll out with a rolling pin to 1/8-inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until lightly blistered, puffed, and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Wrap in foil to keep warm until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Breakfast Bake

Pic1

Whoever came up with the idea of having breakfast for dinner is a genius.

I know that weekends typically are the time when we think about cooking big breakfasts with all our favorite foods that we don’t have the time to cook during the week when it’s all we can do just to wake up on time and get out the door to work. Fancy, home cooked weekend breakfasts/brunches are great….but in my family, they don’t really happen all that often.

See, the majority of my family really doesn’t get all that much sleep. When the weekend comes around, they’re not really thinking about what biscuits, waffles or casseroles they can get up early in the morning to cook- they’re thinking about being able to sleep in for the next day or so. In fact, the only time that usually happens is when we have family members from out of state visiting, which unfortunately isn’t too often. Generally, in a contest between laboring in the kitchen and catching some extra zzzs…the sleep usually reigns supreme. Me? I’m somewhat of a night owl and an early riser. Personally the idea of getting up early to cook a fancy breakfast is fun and exciting to me. But the idea of getting up to cook said fancy breakfast and no one even being awake (or willing to wake up) to eat it? I’ll pass.

Pic2Luckily, there’s that nifty little invention called Breakfast for Dinner.

With Breakfast for Dinner, I can feel free to make all the wonderful breakfast foods that would otherwise go to waste when made at the crack of dawn. There are certain breakfast themed foods that my family’s willing to eat at anytime of day- Breakfast Bakes are one of them. They’re versatile,  delicious and pretty easy to put together.  Not only that, but they taste good both hot and cold, so leftovers don’t even necessarily need to be reheated. I’ve had/made breakfast bake several different ways; sometimes I make it more ‘breakfast-style’ and include some stale bread in the bottom for a kind of ‘crust’, but most times I go without the bread so that it more resembles a really fluffy, deep dish omelette. It tastes pretty good with sausage gravy over the top, or (my personal favorite way of eating eggs), sprinkled with Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco sauce. Pic3

I started to call this dish the “It’s Your World Breakfast Bake”, just because, when it comes to putting it together, it really is ‘your world’- meaning that you can put just about anything you like in it.I’m providing my recipe that has my favorite vegetables and choice of meat, but don’t necessarily think that means that you have to stick to it 100%. You prefer white potatoes to sweet potatoes? Fine, swap ’em out. Not a fan of green pepper, but a huge fan of mushrooms? Make the switch. Whatever you want, really. As long as you keep the ratio of eggs and buttermilk proportionate to the amount of meat and veggies you add, I’m sure your breakfast bake will turn out fine. Just keep in mind not to add TOO many ingredients; you want the eggs and buttermilk to submerge the solids, not be absorbed by them. Have fun guys 😉

FEED(ME) BACK: What’s your favorite ‘Breakfast for Dinner” food?

***********************************************************************************

Sweet Potato and Sausage Breakfast Bake

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Yield: About 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups shredded or diced sweet potatoes
  • A little over 1 cup of cooked and crumbled breakfast sausage (both beef and turkey sausage work fine)
  • 16 eggs
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, diced

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 370°.

2. Spray a 9 x 12 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place sausage, sweet potatoes, onion and green pepper in baking dish and mix together.

3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, garlic powder, salt and pepper, being sure to beat eggs enough so that the yolks are fully broken.

4. Pour egg and buttermilk mixture over the meat and vegetables in baking dish, evenly spreading the mixture out so that all four corners are evenly covered.

5. Bake in oven for about 60 minutes, or until set in the center.