Those of you who’ve read other posts on this blog will know that I love simple. Of course, I enjoy fancy cooking too, whether my own or someone else’s, but there is something very satisfying about dishes that are so easy to create, yet so delicious. As my main mission on this blog is to demystify cooking and encourage everyone into the kitchen, I can hardly get closer-to-task than with this simple method of roasting onions in the oven.
You can do a couple of these, and use them as an accompaniment. You could do a few more and turn then into a feature of the meal. You could do a big batch, and make them into roast onion soup, or keep them in the fridge for a few days and serve them alongside cold meats, charcuterie and cheese. You could put them in a sandwich with something else, or even on their own.
A common way for people to roast onions is to peel them and pop them in the tray with roast potatoes, or around the joint of meat. This is fine, but sometimes the juices can run from the onions and make the spuds soggy, or overpower the flavour of the joint. The outer layers of the onions cooked by this method also usually turn brown and leathery. There is a better way – in fact, there are two better ways.
I’ll give you the two methods here, and the first is so easy that I’m not sure it even qualifies as a recipe!
Take the quantity of onions you need, good, fresh and of a medium size. Don’t peel them. Pop them into a roasting tray or dish – you don’t need oil, or any other liquid. Yep, that’s right, just a batch of unpeeled onions in a dry roasting tin. Put the tray into an oven at a fairly low-to-medium heat; say gas mark 4/180C/350F and bake for two to three hours.
Once cooked, the skins will slip off quite easily, but you can help the process by snipping the stalk end with a pair of kitchen scissors. The smell, and the flavour, is absolutely delicious – in fact, the kitchen aromas of these oven roasted onions will drive you crazy long before they are ready.
Season with salt and pepper, and a little butter.
Method two:This is hardly more complicated, but you do have to peel the onions. Make a little parcel of each peeled onion with a nest of aluminium kitchen foil, drizzle in a little olive oil and/or a small piece of butter, a splash of balsamic vinegar if you like, a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper. Some fresh chopped herbs such as sage or tarragon would be great, as would a bay leaf. Tightly seal the foil parcel(s), and pop into the oven with temperature and timings as the first method. You don’t even need to use a tray; you can put these directly onto the oven shelves if you wish.