Heaven is you, me, a slow cooker and a kilo of brown onions. Really, I promise.
Camellia Ling Aebischer

24 Jul 2020 - 9:55 AM  UPDATED 24 Jul 2020 - 9:55 AM

Silky sweet and umami-laden caramelised onions add a great depth of flavour to any dish you plonk them in. Nobody likes standing over a stove for hours stirring a pan full of onions, to end up with just a few sad tablespoons, so I’m going to tell you about a great way to make them by doing very little.

It’s no surprise that a slow cooker is the vessel of choice here, and using the sleep method (put the onions on before bed, wake up and they’re done) you’ll have a healthy supply of the sticky onion condiment on hand for cheese toastie emergencies, or to toss through a salad, on roast veg, in pasta or mixed through rice.

Heck, you could even add some white wine, quality stock and a bay leaf once the onions are done, simmer another half hour and call it French onion soup! Stay awake, do this during the day and a laborious French meal for dinner is served – just don’t forget the Gruyere toasts.

Let's turn these ugly ducklings into a beautiful swan.

How to make caramelised onions while you sleep

Take 1 kg of onions (you may as well) and slice them all into strips. If you want this process to be even easier and don’t mind what shape they’re in, put them in a food processor and chop into pieces.

Hot tip: slice the onions from top to bottom and they’ll end up all the same length, instead of slicing sideways which results in a whole range of sizes.

Pop the onions in the slow cooker with a good pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil or melted butter. Toss to coat, spread out evenly in the bottom of the cooker and flick onto low for anywhere from 8-12 hours. If you like them darker just let them go for longer.

I put them on just before bed then in the morning give them a stir and leave the lid slightly ajar to cook off any extra water to get them nice and brown. Every slow cooker is different so use your instincts here.

Once you’ve made them, store in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze in portions. They’ll last a week in the fridge and easily a few months in the freezer.

Get them on a toastie, in a quick curry, on a pizza or laid on a bed of hummus.

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