Carmelized Onion Fail

September 7, 2010

Not only were these inedible, but I was left with this mess to clean up. Sometimes, we don’t just fail. We fail miserably. I am still not sure what went wrong here. I started out by doing what I always do when cooking with onions. I chop them while wearing ski goggles so I don’t cry.

Will loves me so much. Anyway, next I put the onions in a dutch oven (as specified by the recipe) with some delicious melted butter. The smell was wonderful as the onions began to weep in the pot.

They became caramelized and brown. I talked to my cousin, Amy, on the phone, and she encouraged me to make a steak, and top it with caramelized onions and blue cheese. The anticipation was killing me. But then, they began to smell burned. I turned the heat down from the (recipe-specified) medium high to medium-low. They kept smoking. I couldn’t scrape the black bits off the bottom. I turned on my wall fan, and two portable fans, and the oven fan but the smoke started making my eyes water. The onions stuck to the bottom, then burned. Despite having 30 more minutes of cooking time, per the recipe, I salvaged what I could and tried then. They tasted like carcinogens. Yuck. And then I had to clean the pot. EPIC FAIL.

Do you know what I did wrong? I would love for you to tell me, please. Don’t make this recipe but here it is for the sake of education.

CARMELIZED ONIONS (from Everyday Food Magazine)


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

15 medium yellow onions (about 6 pounds total), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 teaspoons coarse salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

1 tablespoon sugar


In an 8 quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onions and salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, 35 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium. Add sugar and cook, stirring often to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of pot, 35 to 40 minutes (lower heat if bottom of pot begins to scorch)

When done, onions should be deep golden brown and have a jam-like consistency. Remove from heat; season with salt. Let cool completely. (To store, refridgerate in an airtight container, up to 2 weeks)


5 Responses to “Carmelized Onion Fail”

  1. seamuskitty Says:

    I LOVE the ski goggles idea. You are a genius. The recipe has a flaw! Or the onions were defective!

  2. Jess Says:

    Next time, try cooking them slowly, over low heat, covered, in a wide pan. They’ll take a long time, and you’ll need to stir them every now and then, but they will caramelize nevertheless. (Also, you don’t have to use sugar on them–you can use a dash of balsamic or red wine vinegar, it’ll give you the same effect.)

    They are worth the effort–good luck!

  3. Kate Says:

    Lol, I use ski goggles too!! 😀 My mom was over once and found them in my spice cupboard and was like “what the…”

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