OK, I can hear some of you now asking Onion What???? Why in the world would you confit onions?
Well, onion confit is a wonderful dish and a basic building block of French cooking. You see, onion confit is simply onions with a little water and lots of butter cooked at low temperature for several hours. The result is very tender, deliciously sweet onion slices that will last in your refrigerator for about a week. Contrary to many people’s opinions, however, onion confit is not caramelized. I will feature onion confit in the post on Thomas Keller’s Quiche Loraine and in Almejas con Mojo de Ajo y Cebolla Confitada (Steamed Clams with Garlic Salsa and Onion Confit).
There are all sorts of onion confit recipes around. Typically, these onion confit recipes use additional seasonings and some vinegar making the onion confit more akin to onion marmalade than an onion confit. Nonetheless, these versions of onion confit are perfect for use as a delicious condiment served on top of pizza or a slice of baguette; as an accompaniement with cheese, pate and foie gras; or as a topping for meats such as beef, pork, lamb or duck. In fact, onion confit works beautifully in sandwiches. As with many basic building blocks, the uses of onion confit are limited only by your imagination.
This confit is a straight up onion confit with a hint of herbs from a sachet garni. This preparation is simply all about the onions, the deliciously tender, sweet aromatic onions.
- 2 large Spanish white onions, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
- 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 sachet garni
Warm the water in a large pot over low heat. Add the butter and whisk gently to melt.
Add onions, salt and sachet garni. Toss to coat onions with butter.
Prepare and place a parchment paper lid on top pressing it firmly down on onions to allow the steam to escape but protect onions so that they can cook low and slow.
After 30 minutes check onions and stir. If the pot swallows the onions, you may want to move them to a more appropriately sized pot. Also, if there is a lot of liquid remaining in the pot, you may want to increase the heat for the onions to cook a little more rapidly.
Continue to cook onions over low heat for another 1-1/2 hours stirring them every 20 – 30 minutes replacing the parchment lid and pressing down on the onions each time. Toward the end you may be stirring the onions a little more frequently. You do NOT want them to brown.
After roughly 2 hours, the onions will have softened but should not be falling apart. There may also be a small amount of liquid remaining in the bottom of the pan. Remove the onions from the heat, discard the sachet garni, and allow the onions to cool in their liquid.
When cool place in a plastic container and refrigerate until needed for up to 1 week.
NOTE: A sachet garni is what many people consider to be a bouquet garni. A true bouquet garni is made with the leaf of a leak holding the other herbs together. A sachet garni is simply a piece of cheesecloth (I use muslin) that holds the herbs, bay (leaf, thyme, parsley).