The task of the poet is often to create the extraordinary from something household and mundane. Perhaps this is the reason the onion has been the focus of so many poems. Pablo Neruda wrote them as crystalline orbs holding magic within their layers. But today the final stanza of a Margaret Clark poem most appeals to me:
cannot help being metaphors; they would rather stay
mysteries in the moist soil. They would rather I unwrap
myself. If I could, I tell them through the blur, I would.
Don’t ask. I’m looking for the poetry in the mundane as I’m screaming “Uncle!” from so many damned onions. First they were green, then yellow, followed by purple and white and now we’re back to green. I cannot imagine what is driving the abundance of allium this season.
Across the blogosphere there are all kinds of kitchens canning and preparing preserves. I’ve perused the onion confit and the pickled onions. While they’re beautiful in your photos, I cannot imagine how long they’d inhabit the shelves of my fridge. I thought about dehydrating some and in fact, I will likely still resort to this but learned earlier this week that some vitamin C can be lost during the air-based drying process because vitamin C is an air-soluble nutrient. When onions are sliced, their cells are cut and the exposed surfaces lose some vitamin C.
Given that I don’t enjoy raw onions and can only bake so many onion pies, I turn to another method of cooking and preservation. I love using a slow cooker for many reasons; it doesn’t heat up my house and it’s ready when I get home. The best thing about using it to caramelize onions is that I’m not tempted to speed up the process.
Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions
Makes approximately 5 cups
- 20 small to medium white onions (I’m told this doesn’t work as well with sweet onions)
- 2-3 tablespoons good quality olive oil or butter depending upon your preference.
Peel the onions and cut them into thin slices; you should have at least 6 cups (exact amount is not crucial, though). Mist the inside of the ceramic insert for the slow cooker with olive oil spray or other cooking mist. Place the onions into the crock pot and drizzle olive oil over the slices.
Turn the crockpot on high, cover and go enjoy your day. After 10-12 hours you should have a mass of deep brown carmelized onions and a house that smells wonderful. (Check them periodically as their seems to be a vast range of differences in slow cooker temperatures)