Caramelized onions are a low-calorie way to add flavor and richness to many foods. They traditionally require considerable fussing on the stove top. Not too long ago, our local newspaper had an article explaining this method for caramelizing onions in a Crock Pot, and I had to try it. Couldn't be easier. Seriously. You slice a bunch of onions, add them to a slow cooker, drizzle on a little olive oil, put the lid on, and let them do their thing. Forget about them for 12 hours, and when you lift the lid, you'll be amazed. The sugars in the onions brown (caramelize) during the slow cooking process, and they are ready to eat without any additional preparation. The flavor and texture are some kinda wonderful.
Ways to use caramelized onions. I'll be sharing some recipes soon, but here are quick and easy ways to jazz up foods with caramelized onions.
Nutritional information. These are a low-calorie way to add a big flavor boost to your food. For 1/4 cup serving: 28 calories, 1.6g fat, 3.4g carbs, .6g fiber, 1.6g sugar, .4g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 1
Step-by-step photos for making
Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions
Step 1. Assemble these two ingredients: 6 medium to large yellow onions (sweet onions like vidalias aren't recommended for caramelizing); 2 tablespoons of olive oil
view on Amazon: my Programmable Crock Pot
(rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated)
Step 2. Cut off the two ends (poles) of the onions; cut them in half through the poles; remove the skins. Then half the two pieces again through the poles. Cut in quarter inch slices. (The slicing attachment of a food processor can also be used.)
Step 3. Add the sliced onions to a slow cooker, drizzle on the olive oil, give it a toss, and put on the lid.
Step 4. Cook on high for approx. 12-14 hours. Look through the lid after 10 hours, and stir them if they are burning around the edges. Don't lift the lid more than is necessary; each time you lift it, the cooking time required increases by a 1/2 hour. Slow cooker temps can vary and some cook more evenly than others, so keep an eye on your onions and cook them until they are the desired color.
You will enjoy an amazing aroma while these are cooking. Ahhhhhhhhh.
Once your onions are caramelized, you can eat them right away or save them for later.
Refrigerate or freeze. I like this Crock Pot method because it makes a big batch that I can freeze in small portions for use in future recipes. They're great to have on hand to add some quick pizzazz to many meals. I use small 4 oz. (1/2 cup) mason jars and ziploc freezer bags for freezing mine. I also keep the onion broth that remains in the bottom of the slow cooker. It has amazing flavor that is great to add to soups, sauces, and gravies.
Caramelized onions are a completely different food from their raw state. They are sweet and rich tasting. I use them in a number of recipes. Here's one of my favorites:
Most often, I add these caramelized onions to sandwiches and burgers to take them to the next level.
Make it a Yummy day!