Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Honey Roasted Onions

One of my husband's favorite parts of pot roast or stew is when I include whole onions (or halved, if they're really big) in the stew. They get softer and sweeter and they take on the flavors from the stew.

So when I found a recipe for roasted onions in Tyler Florence's cookbook Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen, I had to give them a try. And then I had to adapt the recipe a bit. Or a lot, actually. His recipe has 1/3 cup honey and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and uses red onions. And his cooking instructions are different.

But in any case, the credit for the idea goes to Tyler Florence.

I got the honey from a company called Nazareth Secret, and it's a honey imported from Israel. It's got a nice flavor and good traditions behind it. It might have been better suited for stirring into my tea, or other applications where the honey flavor would have been more prominent. But ... it worked well in cooking too.

Honey Roasted Onions
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen

4-6 large onions
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Nazareth Secret honey
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and trim the onions and slice in half through the root end (so the halves stay together).

Line a baking sheet** with aluminum foil for easier cleanup. Chances are there will be some burnt sugar to deal with, and it's easier to toss the foil than scrub the pan.

Combine the oil, honey, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl that will fit your onions as well. If you're not sure how much salt and pepper, use 1/2 teaspoon of salt and three or four grinds of pepper from your mill - or about 1/4 teaspoon.

Whisk to combine, then add the onions and stir them around to coat with the mixture. Place the onions, cut side up, on the prepared pan. Leave the remaining liquid in the bowl - you'll be using that later.

Place the onions in the oven and bake until tender. Depending on the onions, this will take an hour or longer.

BUT ! ! !

After about 30 minutes of baking time, remove the pan from the oven and divide the remaining honey/oil mixture on top of each onion. At this point, the onion layers should be less tight, and the liquid will drizzle into the onions as well as coating the top.

Continue cooking, stopping every 10-15 minutes to scoop up the liquid from the bottom of the pan to drizzle it on top of the onions.

** Now that I've contemplated this a bit, I think a 9x13 baking pan might make more sense than a flat baking sheet. The onions could be cooked, covered, for the first 15-20 minutes to steam them and encourage them to cook faster, then drizzle with the oil/honey mixture and keep cooking, drizzing and basting regularly until the onions are done. Also, since most of the oil/honey drips off the onions right away, so I'm thinking that there's no need to try to coat the onions at all at the beginning - just drizzle some of the mixture on top of the onions at the beginning, and then regularly throughout the cooking time - which should also be shorter if they're cooked covered at first.

If you make these, let me know what you do and how they work for you!

I received the honey from the manufacturer, but I was not required to write about it. The book was part of the Cook My Book group exchange. More about that here.