If you’re having a party and inviting me to it, please, don’t sit me next to the onion dip. I swear, onion dip is my diet-busting downfall. And to be brutally honest, I don’t care if it’s made with a package of dry soup mix or it’s plopped into a bowl from a container from the dairy aisle. It’s really the cold and creamy sour cream that makes onion dip so addicting for me but this homemade version is a little different. Well, a lot different since it’s a bacon, scallion, and caramelized onion dip and not made from a package. Plus? Yup – bacon and caramelized onions? Sign.me.up.
I showed you how to make caramelized onions a few weeks ago and this dip recipe was the primary reason why I wanted to finally get my caramelized onions right. When they are the star of a dish, they had better be right! So you’ll use a batch of those onions and mix them up with some crumbled baaaaacon, scallions, sour cream, cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Homemade onion dip – done and done. And yeah, keep me away from this one too – it’s dangerous!!
If, in the 9 years that I’ve been teaching myself to cook, there has been more of an elusive food for me to make, it has been caramelized onions. Every single time I attempt to make them, they come out differently and since I love them so dearly, I want them to be perfect every.single.time. Sometimes I add sugar, sometimes I don’t. Some recipes say they only need to be cooked for 20-25 minutes (or amazingly less than 10); others state 40-45 – or, do I just wing-it? Non-stick, cast iron, or stainless? Don’t fuss with the onions while they cook or stir often? White or vidalias? Butter or oil? Or both??
Seriously, could cooking onions not be more freaking difficult? So I decided recently that it was time to really buckle down and tuck this kitchen staple under my belt. This recipe is simple – as it should be for something as basic as onions – but it requires some patience.
I’m not hugely picky about how I slice my onions but Cook’s Illustrated is (surprised?) so I sliced each onion in half through the root and chopped off each raggedy end.
I then spun the onion half 90 degrees and made 1/4-inch slices. No stringy onions in this house.
You’re going to start with way more onions than you think you may ever need – 2 pounds, sliced is a lot of onion slices. And yes, you’ll use both butter and oil. The best of both worlds here.
It turns out that they really do take 45 minutes to cook, if you want them butter-soft, dark golden brown, and richly flavored. You’ll need to have a good handle on the heat of your stove and you’ll want to make sure you do actually stir them often, especially towards the end of the cooking time.
And for the love of all things good, let them cook. After 25 minutes or so, you’ll think they are done (top photo on the page) but don’t be hasty and rush them. They’ll be really browned and soft but trust me – they will withstand another 20 minutes in the pan. You want the onions to have almost no bite left, for them to feel almost sticky, and for the color to be a really, really deep and delicious brown (last photo on page).
Once you feel like they are starting to stick to the pan, take them off the heat. Your glorious caramelized onions will be done and you can beam in the light of their perfection. Or wait. Is that just me? Use them on burgers, steak, hot dogs (uh, heck yeah), grilled cheese, in pasta dishes, fritattas, quiches, or tartlets (just to name a few). I have a few new recipes ideas that use up these onions which I’ll share with you in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned…
2 lb large white onions, root end cut off, halved pole to pole, peeled, and sliced 1/4 inch thick across the grain
1 tbsp water
Ground black pepper
In a 12-inch skillet, heat butter and oil together over high heat until the butter is melted. Stir in the salt and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the onions and mix them up to coat them with the butter and oil. Cook onions for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the start to soften.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently (and even more so towards the end), about 40 minutes. The onions should be very deep golden brown in color and should be almost completely soft when tasted. If the onions are browning too fast or starting to burn, reduce the heat. You'll need to keep a close eye on them towards the end of the cooking time as they can easily burn at this point.
Off the heat, stir in the water and season with black pepper to taste. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Where oh where do I begin with this dip? Maybe with the fact that it was originally made and posted as a tribute to football-loving men but that the first time I ate it was with a bunch of my best girlfriends. Yep, that’s about right. I should also say that in the 6 weeks since the first time this dip was consumed (errr…devoured), it has shown up, not so surprisingly, again in my house two more times. And each time, I swear people think this dip makes me a genius in the kitchen.
I’m certainly not feeling like a domestic kitchen goddess recently since I’ve come thisclose to royally screwing up two cheesecakes in the past two weeks but this cheesey chorizo and caramelized onion dip makes up for all of those mistakes. The dip, in and of itself, is one sent from the heavens. It’s base is a mixture of sweet caramelized onions, spicy chorizo sausage, cream cheese, and mozzarella cheese and when baked, you’ll need to to exercise the utmost restraint. You’ll want to bathe in this dip. You’ll want to huddle in a dark corner with this dip and a bag of Fritos. You’ll not want to share. But if you want to spend the next 48 hours in the gym working this dip off your holiday hips, I suggest you pass the spoon.
Cheesey Chorizo and Caramelized Onion Dip source: adapted from Foodie Crush
One of the best things about this dip is that it can be made and refrigerated a day or two in advance then baked off when you need it – just add about 10 minutes to the baking time if the dip is baked right from the fridge. To note, I can’t find fresh chorizo so I buy it pre-cooked. If you use fresh, extend the cooking time with the onions to 10 minutes and start cooking it just before the onions are finished so as to not burn the onions.
1 large sweet onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried)
6 oz chorizo or linguicia sausage, casing removed and roughly chopped or crumbled
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Melt butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or saute pan over medium heat and add the onions and thyme. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the onions and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally until they are tender and reach a deep golden color, about 25 to 30 minutes. Add the chorizo to the pan and allow the chorizo to warm through with the onions, about 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Transfer the onions and chorizo to a large bowl and with a rubber spatula, stir in the cream cheese, yogurt and mozzarella cheese until well-combined. Season with salt to taste. Scoop the mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are bubbly and the top starts to brown a little. Garnish with scallions. Serve with Fritos, tortilla chips, or crusty bread.