with onions is just about a daily exercise. Yellow onions are the
starter vegetable for many a dish here in South Louisiana and are
used not only for flavor but also for making a rich brown gravy. Red
onions are usually the choice for fresh dishes and grilling. White
onions are a bit sweeter and used in Mexican dishes. Sweet onions
such as the Texas Sweet and Vidalia are used for just about
everything and are great for grilling.
should remember one thing when cooking with onions "High heat
is a no-no". Onions can have a bitter taste if cooked on a high
heat which is why we always cook onions low and long.
I've received questions about
cooking onions in a gravy, or using them to make a
gravy. Many of
the problems accounted "not getting the onions to brown
release too much water", etc. Low and behold, after asking a few
questions, I found that most of the problems came from the chopping
technique. And that technique was using a food processor to chop the
Chopped onions for gravy need to cook evenly, so, all the chopped pieces
need to be the same size. Hand chopping will achieve this even size.
A food processor will chop indiscriminately leaving some large
pieces and some pieces almost as fine as sand. When trying to cook
these odd sized pieces the very smallest pieces will cook, brown and
even burn before the larger pieces get anywhere near done. If you've
ever used a food processor to chop onions you've probably noticed an
excessive amount of water released. That's because an onion is
almost 90% water. The finer the chop the more water will be
released. The water is another obstacle to deal with when cooking
onions that are processor chopped. Bottom line is, hand chop them
and eliminate the fight.
If you really love onions you can chop an onion in large pieces
and throw them in your gravy dish once it's almost done. Cook them
until just wilted. In doing this you'll add a nice fresh onion
flavor to the dish. Browned onions have a different flavor than
What about green onions, scallions and shallots?
There is always a debate about what the difference is. I've
found, for the most part, that green onions and scallions are the
same and are a small slender green. Shallots are a larger variety.
When you hear "Onion tops" that refers to scallions. If
you watch any cooking shows you'll see that when shallots are used
they are mostly white. That's because the bottoms are used.
If you're going to freeze onions you must chop them and should
blanch or steam them first. You want to soften them a little before
bagging as this helps them keep longer in the freezer. The only time
I could think of when you might freeze onions is if you're given a
bunch or grow them yourself.
Here's some more info on the onion... The National Onion
Well I hope you learned a little about the onion here.... now go
cook that gravy!