It's nice to imagine a perfect world in which everyone's a meticulously detailed home cook, but the truth of the matter is, even a frequent kitchen dweller like myself is often simply looking to make the speediest dinner possible.
So when it comes to homemade edible gifts, I'm fond of gifting my friends what Thomas Keller has called "lifesavers" — those flavor-filled building blocks that add depth to what would be an otherwise-blasé meal. Eight-hour butter-braised onions may sound fancy, but in reality, all you need are three ingredients and a slow cooker.
I love to package these in quaint French terrine jars, with a little note that offers up easy serving suggestions. Some of my favorites? This fast French onion soup or a caramelized onion tart. These sweet, creamy-soft onions are wonderful as a crostini topping, too. Eager for the recipe yet? Then keep reading to make your own butter-braised onions.
- 10 large sweet onions, such as Walla Walla, Vidalia, or Maui
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- To prep the onions, trim the stem end, cut in half lengthwise through the root, and peel each half. Leaving the root end intact, cut each half lengthwise in 1/4-inch-thick slices. Trim to remove the root.
- Scatter butter in the bottom of a 6-1/2-quart electric slow cooker. Add the onions and sprinkle the thyme over the top. Place the lid on the slow cooker, set the cooking mode to high, and set a timer for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, stir the onion mixture. Set a timer for 6 hours, continuing to cook on high.
- After 6 hours, turn the power off, remove the cover, give the onions a stir, and let cool in the ceramic insert for 1 hour.
- Ladle the onions into the jars through a wide-mouth funnel, dividing evenly. Cool completely and then cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Makes two 6-cup (1-1/2 liter) jars of butter-braised onions.
- Other, Condiments/Sauces
- North American