Melange of Onions

by Lana Stuart on May 14, 2014 · 24 comments

Melange of Onions #onions #vegetables #sidedishes #caramelized

You know how some recipes just fill your house with wonderful smells while they’re cooking? A slow cooked pot roast, for instance. Or a pot of southern style butter beans simmering away on the stove? Well, this is definitely one of those recipes.

Onions, as pungent as they are raw, turn to the most wonderful, caramel-y, delicious substance when cooked over low heat for a long time. And they make an outstanding addition to all kinds of soups, stews, and dips. They even stand on their own for an appetizer as I used them here. A toasted baguette, spread with a little softened cream cheese, and topped with this Melange of Onions…just about perfect!

This is really more of a technique than an outright recipe and I can’t really call it “caramelized onions” because of the stock that’s included. I suppose, technically, it’s more like braised onions – cooked low and slow in a bit of liquid. But the result is really outstanding. I always like a mixture of different kinds of onions for this. I think it gives a more interesting flavor. You could, however, use just one or two.

Don’t be put off by the cooking time, either. Once you get these going, they really look after themselves as long as you leave the temperature down pretty low. Just give them a stir in passing and they’ll turn out great.

Mixture of onions for Melange of Onions

Use a mixture of at least 3 or 4 different varieties of onion yielding 8 to 10 cups peeled and sliced. This time, I used leeks, garlic, red onions, white and yellow onions, shallots, cipollini, and chives. Anything that falls within the onion (allium) category will work. I always include leeks because I like the earthy flavor they give to the finished onions but that’s entirely up to you. Whatever you have on hand or they have in your store’s produce department is fine!

Prepared onions for Melange of Onions

You’ll need to peel all the onions (of course, scallions and chives don’t need peeling), cut off the root ends, and slice them. A tip about peeling onions – use a very sharp knife. Remember, “the sharper the blade, the less you cry.” Using a dull blade crushes the cell walls as it passes through the onion which releases much more of the substance that produces tears. So sharpen your knife before you start!

All ingredients added for Melange of Onions

Place a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium-low heat and add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add the onions, stock, salt, pepper, and thyme.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for up to 2 hours (more if they need it!) or until the onions have greatly reduced in volume and a deep golden brown color is achieved. Be sure to bring up any residue on the bottom of the pan each time you stir.

Melange of Onions - 10 minutes cooking time

Here’s what your onions will look like after about 10 minutes of cooking time.

Melange of Onions - 30 minutes cooking time

And here they are after about 30-40 minutes.

FInished cooking Melange of Onions

You can add an additional tablespoon of water or broth at the end of cooking to deglaze the bottom of the pan, if needed. Also, remember to remove the thyme stems. What you wind up with is about 1 1/2 cups of yummy, golden brown, delicious onions that you can use right away, store in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze and use within 3 months.

I used this batch right away to make a simple appetizer. I toasted a sliced baguette, topped with some softened cream cheese and a spoonful of my melange of onions. They also make a great topping for burgers or steak sandwiches, and are a perfect base for onion soup or onion dip.

Enjoy!

Melange of Onions
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A melange of wonderfully caramelized, flavorful onions. Perfect for appetizers, topping a burger, or as the base for onion soup or dip.
Ingredients
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 tblsp. oil
  • 8-10 cups peeled, sliced, or diced mixed onions
  • ½ cup stock, wine, or water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 5-6 thyme sprigs
Instructions
  1. Use a mixture of at least 3 or 4 different varieties of onion. Suggestions include leeks, green onions, red or purple onions, white and yellow onions, cipollini, garlic, chives, and shallots. Prepare the onions and set aside.
  2. Place a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium-low heat and add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add the onions, stock, salt, pepper, and thyme.
  3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for up to 2 hours or until the onions have greatly reduced in volume and a deep golden brown color is achieved. Be sure to bring up any residue on the bottom of the pan each time you stir. An additional tablespoon of water or broth can be added at the end of cooking to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Remove the thyme stems.
  4. Store covered in the refrigerator and use within 3 days. Or freeze and use within 3 months.
Notes
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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula - bell'alimento May 14, 2014 at 12:58 pm

One of my most favorite smells ever. Now I’m off to chop up some onions to get mine started.

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2 Lana Stuart May 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm

I like to make a big batch sometimes on the weekend and keep them in the freezer. Great to have them on hand.

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3 Brenda@SugarFreeMom May 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

So flavorful! One pot of goodness right there! I could just eat it with a fork and nothing else!

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4 Lana Stuart May 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm

I know! Me too!

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5 foodwanderings May 14, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Gosh caramelized onions are the best. Slowly turning sweet and brown. Indeed enhancing so many dishes instantly.

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6 Stephanie @ Back For Seconds May 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

I could eat the whole batch! I love onions and these look extra delish!

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7 Meredith in sock monkeyslippers May 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Looks fabulous!

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8 Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos May 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Lana – every time I come here, I learn something new – this technique looks and sounds delicious!!

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9 Lana Stuart May 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Thank you, Aly! It makes me happy to know that I can teach you something.

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10 Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice May 14, 2014 at 9:52 pm

What a creative recipe! I’m sure your house smelled amazing when you made this!

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11 Ginny McMeans May 15, 2014 at 12:01 am

I love this recipe! I have to make it at our house!

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12 Rose | The Clean Dish May 15, 2014 at 8:19 am

My mom makes something similar for steak — I love all kinds of different onions; you seriously can’t beat the smell of sauteing onions (and garlic)! Bookmarking this recipe :)

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13 Kelly May 15, 2014 at 8:30 am

a woman after my own heart! i love sautéed onions. these look and sound dee-lish, Lana! thanks for sharing.

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14 Melissa from HungryFoodLove.com May 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

I am a lover of all things onion and make caramelized onions all the time. I normally just use vidalia onions but this melange is calling my name!

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15 Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes May 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

Carmelized onions are pure heaven. This looks great!

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16 Colleen (Souffle Bombay) May 15, 2014 at 9:55 am

So many uses for these! That smell can bring a grown man (or woman) to their knees!!

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17 Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles May 15, 2014 at 9:57 am

Delicious! Not much can beat the smell and flavor of caramelized onions!!

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18 Angela {Mind Over Batter} May 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm

I cannot tell you how much I love this! I love the scent of onions cooking. This melange of onions is amazing – I can’t wait to try it, eat it, then breathe on someone. Hard.

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19 Miss P May 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm

I love the technique posts! Thanks for the advice.

Miss P

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20 Lana Stuart May 15, 2014 at 9:26 pm

They’re my favorite ones to do! I like to give people a general idea to work from more than a specific measure-by-measure recipe.

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21 Carol at Wild Goose Tea May 15, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Goodness, I saw your picture of all the different kinds of onions and my mind raced to the produce department of my local grocery store. Thank you for the piece of advice that the cooking of the onions pretty much take care of themselves. That is NOT what I was thinking when I first read the description. I sometimes think I use onions too much in my cooking, but so far I haven’t changed my habits. This recipe is very supportive of my ‘onioness’. Lol

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22 Lana Stuart May 15, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Embrace the “onioness” Carol!!

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23 Shelby May 15, 2014 at 11:24 pm

I, also support “onion ness” in my cooking. My husband actually loves to cook onions for breakfast. They are great with eggs and grits and sausage.

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24 Miriam @ OvertimeCook May 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

No jokes, I am sitting at my computer drooling. I absolutely love onions, so this is so up my alley!

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