Caramelizing meats and vegetables the proper way takes a little patience, low heat, and the right pan, says Vivian Howard.
Howard, the chef, restaurateur and star of the PBS show, “A Chef’s Life,” demonstrates the proper technique to caramelize onions in this video.
The North Carolina native uses a stainless steel skillet when she caramelizes onions because it allows her to “see everything that’s happening at the bottom of the pan very easily.” A cast-iron skillet also works well.
“Never ever use a thin-bottom aluminum skillet because you’ll end up with lots of scorched spots,” she says.
Keep your heat on medium low, as opposed to a higher temperature to produce onions that are soft and supple, says Howard.
Watch the video to see how the chef does it, then check out the recipe for Howard’s caramelized onion dip below.
Makes about 3 cups
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Serve with: potato chips
Melt the butter in the oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in the onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire. Fold in the onions. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours and preferably overnight. Stir well before serving. Sprinkle with chives and serve with chips.