You know what season it is? It’s the season with significantly less variety. Root vegetables, anyone? Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a big fan of parsnips, or rutabagas. Or winter squash. Or sweet potatoes. Sorry. They’re just so….starchy! Or maybe I should just say that it’s the season that leaves me a little cold in the kitchen (no pun intended). See, I’m not really an eater of full meals. I thrive on snack-y type things.
Spring and summer are made for quick preparation. Just slice a tomato and have a quick sandwich, or toss together some cucumber, red onion and basil for a quick salad…
But autumn and winter bring us long-cooked items. “Fast food” is harder to come by. So I find myself concentrating on making leftovers to provide me with the necessary “fast food” the next day. I could eat braised greens everyday til the cows come home. And soup. And don’t get me wrong- I love Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli (come to think of it, I guess I’d have to include the whole brassica family).
So, what I’m trying to say is….if you’re like me…then make these yummy onions! I love having little condiment-like things in the fridge. Like those tomatoes-yup!-still in there getting used in a million different ways. Have you ever made harissa? or romesco? -they are perfect things to keep in the fridge, adding a little excitement to what you already have…
And yes, sure enough, I did make little nibbles with toasted baguette slices, Monte Enebro cheese, and these onions. And it was good. And I was happy.
Melting onions in red wine adapted from The Cook and the Gardener by Amanda Hesser
yields about 2 cups
- 2 Tablespoons virgin or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespooon unsalted butter
- 3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3-5 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup full-bodied red wine (Cab, Merlot, Syrah…)
- 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Choose a heavy-bottomed pot or straight sided saute pan that is big enough to hold the onions in a layer that is about 2-inches deep.
Place the pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil and butter. Once they are melted, add the onions, sugar, salt, and thyme. Stir well to coat.
Turn the heat to low, and cook them slowly, covered for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Once they have softened, remove the lid, and continue to cook, slowly, stirring regularly, until most of the excess liquid has evaporated.
Add the red wine and vinegar and continue to cook over low heat until the wine has reduced and begun to bind with the onions, creating a bit of a sauce in the pan. At this point, don’t stir as often. Allow the onions to just begin to stick on the bottom of the pot (slightly caramelizing). Then stir. Do this about 3 or 4 more times. This slight caramelization adds flavor!
Taste for salt, adjusting as necessary.