How to caramelise onions … kitchen helper
Caramelised onions are a wonderful addition to many recipes, adding a deep, rich, sweet flavour that comes from the caramelisation of the natural sugars in the onions. So, what’s the best way to achieve perfectly caramelised onions?
Slowly cooking onions allows the natural sugars to caramelise bringing out a lovely intense flavour. Our favourite method involves slowly cooking them for an hour. To make about 2 cups of caramelised onions you will need 5-6 large raw onions. You can use red, brown or white onions or even a mix of all three. You will also need olive oil, butter, salt, sugar (optional) and balsamic vinegar (optional).
Start by peeling and cutting the onions into slices. Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and butter (1 teaspoon per onion). Heat the frying pan on medium heat and add onion slices, stirring to coat the onions. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, sprinkle some salt over onions and sugar if using; the sugar helps the caramelisation process. Add a splash of water to the pan at this point to help stop the onions from drying out. Let cook for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring every few minutes. After the first 30 minutes, you should lower the heat to low and if the onions look like they are going to burn add more oil. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan and continue cooking and scraping until the onions are a rich brown colour. Towards the end you can add a little balsamic vinegar if you like to enhance the flavour and deglaze the pan.
Caramelised onions can be stored in the fridge for up to a week in an air-tight container. Use them to add to quiches, pizzas, tarts, sandwiches, salads, pasta, soup, dips and on top of steak, burgers or grilled chicken.