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have lots of onions... ideas other than soup?

I have about 4 lbs of onions at home, and am moving in 3 weeks. I hate to waste food, and would like to use these up before then.

With this many onions I would typically make a big batch of french onion soup, but am wondering if anyone has other ideas for using up a fairly large amount of onions?

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  1. Marcella Hazan has a superb recipe for spaghetti with smothered onions, I think in her second book. At any rate, you slice a LOT of onions quite thin, then sweat them in a frying pan with oil, and she may use butter but I don't, then when they are practically a mush, you pour on a glass of white wine and let it evaporate. When the onions are golden brown, they're ready. Mix in the spaghetti, cooked al dente, and add freshly grated parmigiano. Instead of parmigiano, you can add a can of good-quality Italian tuna, broken up with a fork.

    Fritatta with onions is also fabulous. Again, thin slice a LOT of onions and cook slowly until they are a sweet golden mush. Add them to beaten eggs and proceed as for any frittata.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      the smothered spaghetti sounds unique and tasty (and would also use up some other dry goods I have laying around the pantry). Does it use any herbs? I am specifically thinking thyme

      1. re: mbfant

        She also is known for her really simple pasta sauce recipe that is just a half a stick of butter, and half a peeled onion (not chopped) and a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. Just throw it all in a pan and let it simmer for an hour or so.

      2. Slice them and sautee, removing some when golden and letting the rest caramelize, then divvy up and freeze. The oil will keep them from being rock-solid, so you can pry off smaller amounts as needed to add to various dishes, burgers, pizza. Having cooked onions, and sliced/chopped raw ones, in the freezer really speeds meal preparation.

        1. I just made Cook's Illustrated's onion braised brisket. It is fantastic and uses 2 1/2 lb. of onions...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Becca Porter

            I'll have to try to check that out, I "made up" a recipe with brisket and caramelized onions. Would love to see what they did with it.

            My other recommendation was caramelized onions. You could also make it into an onion marmalade, if you wanted.

            ETA: I forgot to add, if you want something "quick" to do with them, you could do a refrigerator pickle of the onions. Serve them in salads, or on top of tacos, things like that.

          2. Depending on the size you might think about stuffing and baking them. You can stuff with bread and veg and serve as a side. Or stuff with a sausage mixture as a main.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Scott D

              do you need to pre-cook the sausage?

            2. Onion Chutney....

              Braised Pork Shoulder with Onions. I saw an episode on Lydia's Italy where she made the dish with four pounds of thin sliced onions.....looked great.


              1. An onion tart - Wonderful as a side or even main dish with a salad.
                Onion conserve to be used smeared on great big fat juicy blue cheese burgers
                or as a stuffing for fat pork chops. Onion gravy/sauce is delicious with mashed potatoes.

                    1. This Zuni Cafe recipe for a Chard, Onion & Gruyère Panade is really delicious and uses 1 1/2 pounds of onions. It's not difficult; the directions simply look long because Judy Rodgers gives very detailed instructions.

                      This is a really tasty (and pretty) Tomato and Onion Tart from Gourmet.

                      You could also may this simple yet really satisfying recipe from Gourmet for Beer-Braised Beef and Onions. It would use 3 pounds!

                      As others suggesting, you could always make pickled onions (which I love) but then you'd have to move them with you. You could also make onion rings (baked or fried) or onion fritters.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: toveggiegirl

                        this looks amazing. Funny -- I was in Sardinia recently and ordered soup for lunch one day. What came out was not regular soup, but (now I understand) a panade. I had no idea what it was, and had never seen/tasted anything like it before. So, thanks for the recipe and reminding me of a nice memory

                        1. re: jcarlile

                          Wow, I wish I tried it in Sardinia. I'm glad you solved the mystery! Let me know if you try it. It's pretty great.

                        2. re: toveggiegirl

                          I love that Panade recipe! It is really delicious and well worth making. I also love most french onion tarts and they will freeze well if you make a pair.

                        3. I'd caramelize the lot of them and freeze them in 1-cup increments for use later.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Yep, was going to suggest the lovely caramelized....and I've read that you CAN freeze them for up to 3 months.

                          2. Goulash and Carne alla Genovesa both contain substantial amounts of onion.

                            1. Take one onion.

                              Take two slices of bread (I prefer rye, but you may substitute your favorite bread)

                              Slice said onion and layer onto bread.

                              Garnish with ketchup and mustard.


                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Sorry to yuck your yum, but yuck. I thought my Dad was the only person in the world to eat onion sandwiches! I love onions, but not as the main event.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  No - an onion sandwich is made with butter and sprinkled with vinegar. Rye bread is good, though.

                                  That said caramelize the onions (slow cooker is the least labor-intensive way if you have to pack) and make onion dip, onion soup, onions on sandwiches, on burgers, on pasta (I like with a good thick yogurt over pasta)

                                2. Slowly carmelize sliced onions in butter, and add a bit of sherry and rosemary at the end.

                                  Make a pizza crust (fresh is best), and spread with the carmelized onion mixture. Top with your choice of other ingredient - a bit of blue cheese is wonderful, or black olives, feta cheese and fresh tomatoes. It works best if there's a bit of bite in the cheese, as the onions are quite rich.

                                  Bake as you would a normal pizza.

                                  1. Funny I have the same problem. I am planning to move and the same time the refrigerator stopped working, although the freezer is still working. Bought a small refrigerator for the time being. Hoping to carmelize the rest of the onions or make more onion soup.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: classylady

                                      Mujadderah (multiple spellings), which at its simplest, is lentils and rice which is both mixed and topped with crispy browned sliced onions. It can be done with vermicelli instead of the rice, or even bulgur. The onions completely make this dish. Ditto for Kasha Varnikshes (toasted buckwheat cooked and mixed with bowtie pasta (farfalle or farfallini) and topped with crispy fried onions.

                                      How about a pissaladiere, which is a Provencal take on a pizza. You could use at least 3 or 4 onions and caramelize them slowly, as the coating for the pissaladiere's crust. Along with olives and anchovies, it is very savory.

                                    2. I love onions in pasta. I usually caramelize red onion, but any would work. I toss it with roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes, penne and feta. Or whatever is in the fridge. One time, I sauteed kale, and sliced a chicken sausage instead of the eggplant and tomatoes. Also, cook up a big batch of pierogies-or even make the frozen ones, and smother a bunch of fried onions on top. YUM!

                                      1. Once found a 5 lb bag of onions that got "lost" in my totally organized kitchen?!? Long enough that a few had just started sprouting. Didn't want to toss but knew I'd never use them up quickly enough. I sliced them all up and caramelized the whole bunch. They cook WAY down. Ended up with brown goodies to start a pot of soup at a later date to stash in freezer.

                                          1. re: ChiliDude

                                            Yes! I have a recipe for a sort of onion tarte tatin that's made with a cheddar biscuit dough. Google "Supper onion pie"

                                          2. Slice them 1/3 inch thick (horizontally) and put on an oiled and salted sheet pan (I just rub oil and sprinkle salt on a sheet pan covered in foil because I'm lazy and it's easier than coating each slice on both sides) then sprinkle upside with salt and olive oil. Roast in oven at 375 for however long it takes for them to roast and start to brown (I like really brown but take them out when you like). Oven roasted onion slices are the best side dish or condiment ever! Serve with burgers, as the veggie to go with roasted chicken or fish, etc.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chinaplate

                                              Well, duh, never thought of this! Do they come out akin to carmelized onions? Thanks for the tip.

                                            2. Haven't made it in years but after I got married (1968!) I
                                              regularly made Julia's recipe for soubise - slow cooked rice
                                              with lots of onions! Think it was probably in "Mastering" -
                                              should be easy to track down.

                                              1. Pickled onions are a joy and a delicious addition to sandwiches and salads.

                                                1. - fried onion rings

                                                  - add them to meatloaf

                                                  - some batches of frozen sofrito

                                                  - rice pilaf

                                                  - hot onion dip, or french onion dip from scratch

                                                  - dehydrate some of them for later use

                                                  - caramelize onion and guyerre pizza with fresh thyme