This past Thanksgiving was the first we’ve hosted in quite a while. Like many, I love to cook holiday meals, especially combining old favorites and new explorations. This year I was inspired by the fab variety of onions at Sosio’s vegetables in the Pike Place Market, and my memories of Mom’s creamed onions. But, I thought, let’s do something different… Here goes.
1 large red onion
1 large sweet white onion
1 large shallot
a good handful of cipollini onions
a good handful of white pearl onions
extra virgin olive oil
chicken stock (any stock will do, actually)
For the base, cut the large red and white onions in half, and then in 1/3 inch wide strips. Cut the shallots smaller, but not diced. Melt your favorite combination of a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil in a pan, and sauté the onions until just cooked through, maybe 3-5 minutes on medium to high heat. Towards the end, add a few good dashes of balsamic, and cook a minute or so, until the balsamic has infused the onions and the mixture starts to caramelize. Take off the heat, and with a rubber spatula, transfer to a low wide porcelain dish so that it’s an inch or so thick.
In the same sauté pan, add a bit more olive oil and/or butter, and flash cook a teaspoon of the thyme. Add the cipollini and pearl onions (starting with the larger ones) and cook until just browned. Add 1/2 a cup or so of stock, enough to cover the onions maybe half-way, and cook on high heat until the onions are cooked through and the stock has reduced by at least a half. Add another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme to ensure each of the whole onions has some good herb coverage, and then distribute the whole onions and any liquid over the bed of the balsamic glazed onions.
Cover with foil, put in the fridge until ready, and then pop in a 375 oven for 20 minutes or so to heat through. Take off the foil 1/2 way through. (Microwave would be okay, but I like the further caramelization that happens with oven re-heating.)
This dish is rich in earthy and herbal tones. Along with the punch of the onions it’s a great side with any roast, turkey, chicken, and I think pork especially.
Happy Holidays from the Other Ted!