It's getting serious - the love that I'm starting to feel for my slow cooker. It's not always been a smooth ride but we're making progress.
And this week, my Quick Tip is a slow cooker use that might be a bit surprising. Did you know that you can make amazing caramelised onions in your slow cooker? Neither did I, until I tried it this week.
And it really is as easy as it gets -
- Finely slice the onions and put them in the slow cooker - I used 2.5kg (5.5lbs) and this was enough to fill my 6-litre slow cooker about three-quarters of the way to the top.
- Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper and stir well.
- Now put on the lid and cook on SLOW for 11 hours. If you get the opportunity to give the onions a stir halfway through, then do so, but if you decide to cook them overnight, don't worry - the worst that can happen is that you get a few onion slices sticking to the bottom. A small price to pay for sleeping through the night.
- At the end of the 11 hours, give the onions a good stir. If you think they need it, turn the setting to HIGH and leave them to cook for a further 2 hours. This will help the onions to become a bit more squidgy. Sometimes I leave the lid a little ajar for this last part to help evaporate any residual liquid but if I don't manage this then I drain them a little before using or freezing.
And there you have it - Slow Cooker Caramelised Onions without any fuss. You can sleep or go out or stay in while they do their thing and your onions will transform from milky white to rich, deep brown and there's no need to hover at the hob. They truly will look after themselves.
A couple of things to remember -
- The onions really do shrink down a lot once they are cooked, so make plenty. My 2.5kg (5.5lbs) of onions (unpeeled) resulted in 5 cups of caramelised onions which was about 1kg (2lbs).
- Although this process takes a long time, remember that there is hardly any hands-on time - surely there's nothing better than having culinary magic happen while you sleep?
So what did I do with these gorgeous Slow Cooker Caramelised Onions?
- They were delicious warm on burgers - but would also be great on a hot dog or a steak sandwich.
- I added them to a pasta dish for packed lunches - this time it was red pesto, cherry tomatoes and a little goat's cheese.
- Tonight they will be the final flourish in a frittata - and they'd also be perfect to pimp up an omelette.
- I might use the rest to stir through a grain or a bean salad - maybe something like this Moroccan Couscous.
- Or I could use them as a pizza topping or a filling for a savoury tart - my favourite is a pissaldière.
- They are delicious in a hot dog - especially when the sausages have been pre-cooked and frozen.
- And they would also add an extra dimension to some Loaded Potato Skins.
Oh, and they freeze well too. Be sure to freeze them in useful portions.
Convinced? It's got to be worth a try .....