By this time of year I’m thinking about holiday food. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I’m already planning the meal. Some variety of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes always makes it to the holiday table, but I’m always looking for different and interesting sides to add to the menu. Each year, I try to make a couple of new dishes.
Cipolline onions, which originated around Verona, Italy, are a member of the shallot family of plants. These flat, saucer-shaped onions range in size from one to three inches and possess a sweet and mild flavor. When braised, they make the perfect holiday side dish. For this recipe, I’ve created a rich beef stock, red wine, and butter braising liquid.
This side dish comes together very quickly. There are always so many last minute preparations for a holiday meal and this dish is convenient because it can be prepared a day ahead, refrigerated, and warmed just prior to meal time.
2 pounds Cipolline onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup good-quality red wine
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Thyme leaves, for garnish
1. Trim the root end of the onions off with a sharp paring knife. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Drop onions in boiling water for two minutes. Remove from water and rinse with cold water. Using a paring knife on the root side of the onion, remove skin from onions.
2. Empty water from pot and return to heat. Melt butter and transfer onions to the pot. Toss to coat with butter. Add wine, vinegar, beef stock, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until onions are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
3. Increase heat to high, uncover, and cook for an additional five to ten minutes or until liquid has reduced. If making a day ahead, stop after step two. Cool and refrigerate. Start with step three on the day you'll be serving the dish.
4. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with fresh thyme leaves, and serve immediately.