In December, the weather fluctuated wildly — single digits all the way to the 60s. This was not particularly helpful for keeping a temperate root cellar. We finished up the garlic crop around Christmas, but still had quite a few white onions left. They started to soften, along with the shallots, and so one morning late in the year I undertook an Emergency Onion Audit. A few fallen soldiers went straight out the cellar door to the compost heap, but most of them came upstairs to be shucked, sliced, and dumped into my largest crockpot. Then I followed this Food.com recipe for onion confit..
I ended up with 8 quarts of raw onions to be cooked down into compote and my largest stockpot was filled with the remaining onion quarters and a huge pig bone that was almost too tall for the pot. The compote cooked down for about a day and a half, ultimately ending up as about a quart and a half of finished product. We tried it a few days later on sandwiches made from freshly baked brioche, ham that we froze at Thanksgiving, and cave-aged gruyere that had been sitting around for way too long. A few minutes under the broiler and it was an absolutely outstanding winter lunch.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons demi-glace
3 tablespoons sherry wine or 3 tablespoons port wine
7 -9 large onions, sliced enough to fill crock pot to the top
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
If you don’t have demi-glace, take 2 cups good-quality stock and reduce to 1/2 cup.
Place everything in crock pot and thoroughly combine.
Turn to high, until just before going to bed (about eight hours). Stir. Turn to low for overnight.
Upon waking, stir, and turn back to high until finished. Water content will vary from onion to onion, so if your confit is still quite watery towards the end, remove lid and allow excess water to cook off.