There aren’t many smells in the world more comforting and delicious than the fragrance of frying onions.
I’m sure when I’m cooking and someone says ‘wow, that smells good’, it’s onions that are responsible for the compliment more than half the time.
I owe onions a lot.
But as much as I love these humble, aromatic bulbs, I didn’t used to cook with them as much as I’d like. You see I’m one of those people who tear up almost at the thought of chopping onions. Yes onions used to make me cry. Big time.
In the past, I’d almost dread the onion chopping and inevitable crying eyes. But I knew the flavour would be worth it, so I soldiered on.
Then at Christmas, when I was beginning to get psyched to make stuffing for the turkey, I mentioned to my Irishman’s mother how I hated onion related crying. And rather than just imparting a little kitchen sympathy, she shared with me the secret…
All you need to do it hold a slice of bread from your mouth while you chop. That’s it.
And the thing is, it works!
Sure you feel a little silly, with bread dangling down as you chop. And you do end up with a slightly-soggy-in-one-corner sacrificial slice of bread. But there are dry eyes and delicious onions. It’s a small price to pay.
What about you?
Know any unusual but effective kitchen tricks? I’d love to hear in the comments.
video version of the recipe
warming onion & white bean bake recipe
5 onions, sliced into half moons
4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
3 cans white beans (400g / 14oz, each), drained
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
150g (5oz) grated cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
2. Heat a generous glug of olive oil and a large frying pan or skillet and cook onion, stirring occasionally over a medium heat until onion is melting and deep golden. Add more oil as you need it. Will take about 25 minutes.
3. Add thyme to onion and season.
4. In a medium heatproof dish layer about a third of the onions. Add half the beans and a little cheese. Repeat until all the ingredients have been used, finishing with the cheese. Pour the stock over and season.
5. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.