I’ve been a cooked onion lover from way back. As a child I had the honor of snagging the onion that was nestled besides my mother’s Sunday roast. Soft, gooey and full of caramelized goodness I savored each and every bite. As a grown up I can’t say that I’ve continued the tradition of a roast luncheon on Sundays, but I’m still a fool for slow cooked onions.
Sliced thin and cooked over low heat with a splash of balsamic they make the perfect topping for a grilled burger. Roasted whole as in this recipe, they are my “go to” side dish for a roast-be it chicken, pork loin or even a grilled steak.
Sweet and Sour Onion Confit
1/4 cup pine nuts
12 ounces small cipollini onions or pearl onions, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup medium sherry
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup golden raisins
Using a small frying pan, lightly toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan back and forth to keep them from scorching. Set aside. Peel the onions-either by blanching them first in boiling, salted water for about 30 seconds and then using a sharp paring knife to strip away the skins, or by simply peeling the raw onions.
Put the olive oil in large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook gently (without browning) for about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until mostly reduced. Add 3/4 cup water, vinegar, sugar, raisins, pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Stir well. Simmer the mixture over the lowest heat possible for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
You may need to add more water from time to time if the mixture gets too thick and gooey or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. It is finished when everything has caramelized well, and the flavors have blended together. Cool and serve at room temperature. This can, and really should, be made ahead of time, as the flavors develop in complexity after a day or two. The confit will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.