No Thanksgiving is ever complete without an appearance by my favorite stinky vegetable: Onions.
A lot of my recipes require onions in one form or another. Whether it be as flavoring in a brine, filler for a bird or a secondary ingrediant in many other dishes from chilis and curries to marinaras and stuffings, onions are everywhere in my diet. And for Thanksgiving, onions are given a special place to shine as their own separate side dish.
Here I will give you two separate ideas for serving onions that will allow their sweetness and spiciness to shine through without overpowering the other dishes on the table.
First up: CLOVE ONIONS
This is so simple, it’s hardly worth calling this a recipe.
one bag medium sized onions
Peel about 12 onions or so. Basically, you want enough to fill a good sized two inch deep baking dish. Slice off the tops and bottoms of the onions so that they will sit flat and have a flat top. Butter the baking dish and arrange the onions in the dish. Take individual cloves and insert them into the tops of each onion. If you have picked the right size, you should be able to insert about 6 cloves per onion top. Be sure to insert the clove deep enough to infuse the onion but not so deep that you lose the clove. You want to be able to easily remove them after baking. Nobody wants to bite into a clove. Woody grittiness does not make for a pleasant eating experience. Apply a dab of butter to each onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in tinfoil and place into a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes. Onions should be cooked but still slightly firm. Remove cloves, places onions in serving dish and enjoy. Simple, easy, fun and packed with flavor!
Second: PEARL ONIONS IN A BALSAMIC VINEGAR DEMIGLAZE
Ok, this one is a little more involved, but the reward at the end is well worth all the effort.
1 lb of pearl onions, peeled
1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
3-5 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup red wine
After removing fresh time and rosemary from their stems, chop coarsley and add to a preheated deep sautee pan. Allow herbs to brown slightly. Do not burn or roast, you just want to develop the flavors a little. Add balsamic vinegar. Please make sure you use the good stuff. Your tastebuds will thank you later. Allow balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan and bring to a simmer. Add sugar and whisk until sugar desolves completely. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer and thicken. Add onions and toss till all the onions are coated. Red wine to deglaze the pan again, salt and pepper to taste and cover. Reduce heat and allow to simmer covered for 20 minutes on low heat. Chop fresh parsley and combine with onions in a serving dish. Enjoy!
I think I came up with this recipe after watching a Food Network show. I don’t remember exactly how much is mine or how much was on the show, but I’ll take the full credit for the deliciousness. The onions come out sweet with the tartness of the balsamic vinegar balanced by the rosemary and thyme and the wine. These make wonderful fillers for my Leftovers Shepherds Pie. But again, that’s for later…..