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spaghetti sauce mishap and question about sweet onions

rayrayray Sep 15, 2012 09:08 AM

So I made a huge batch of tomato and meat sauce this morn for a pot luck at work on Monday. My recipe has never changed in years. Ground meat, tinned sauce, drain fat from meat and use some of the fat to sauté all the veggies before adding them to the sauce and cook for several hours. I always use small white cooking onions for this. This morn as I was prepping I realized I had no cooking onions, only sweet onions. I figured what they hay? An onion is an onion right? So as I'm sautéing the onions I notice they don't have the pungent oniony smell cooking onions do and I was getting concerned. I have now tasted my sauce and its sweetish and watery tasting. I have not deviated from my recipe in any way other then changing up the type of onion. I have only ever used sweet onions for onion rings (we have movie night in my house every Friday and that's what I make my fam for a treat). Not too sure how to proceed. Do I add salt? Should I run to the store and get some cooking onions to add? Suggestions most welcome.

  1. s
    sandylc Sep 15, 2012 10:07 AM

    I cook with sweet onions all of the time. I'm not aware of the term "cooking onion" -

    Is the sauce actually not good, or is it just different than expected?

    I'm with adding salt and/or tomato paste. Is there any garlic in it?

    4 Replies
    1. re: sandylc
      rayrayray Sep 15, 2012 10:10 AM

      There is no garlic in this particular recipe I make. Cooking onion is the regular small white/yellowish fleshed onion with a copper coloured skin that come in mesh bags.

      1. re: rayrayray
        sandylc Sep 15, 2012 12:49 PM

        "Cooking onion is the regular small white/yellowish fleshed onion with a copper coloured skin that come in mesh bags."

        Boy, that's a new one for me...

        1. re: sandylc
          biondanonima Sep 15, 2012 01:36 PM

          I wouldn't call them cooking onions, but yellow or white onions have a distinctly different flavor than sweet onions (large, watery and sugary varieties like Vidalia). I would not use the two interchangeably in cooking unless I was prepared for a very different result.

          1. re: biondanonima
            rayrayray Sep 15, 2012 08:52 PM

            We call them cooking onions here. Other posters seemed to know what I mean.

    2. biondanonima Sep 15, 2012 10:05 AM

      I would reduce further and add some onion powder if you don't want to add new onions. A bit of tomato paste might help as well. You could also just slice a cooking onion in half, simmer it with the sauce for a bit, then fish it out, rather than trying to actually integrate the new onion into the sauce.

      3 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima
        rayrayray Sep 15, 2012 10:14 AM

        Brilliant idea, I will add some onion powder. Now for the sweetness...I'm thinking maybe a chicken bullion cube might be the ticket but still debating it.

        1. re: rayrayray
          biondanonima Sep 15, 2012 01:37 PM

          Extra salt and acid will both help with the sweetness. A bouillon cube and maybe a spritz of lemon juice or a splash of red wine vinegar (or a splash of dry red or white wine) should help.

          1. re: biondanonima
            rayrayray Sep 15, 2012 08:53 PM

            I did use the bullion and vinegar and it came out perfect. Thanks!

      2. soypower Sep 15, 2012 09:47 AM

        How about adding a can of tomatoes and some tomato paste? When I make sauce, I usually add a bit of sugar, so they may balance each other out.

        1. e
          escondido123 Sep 15, 2012 09:44 AM

          If it's watery, you can reduce it some more. If you don't compare it to your standard sauce, does it taste good? If it needs salt add it, but I wouldn't add more onions. (I use sweet and regular yellow onions interchangeably without a problem.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: escondido123
            rayrayray Sep 15, 2012 09:56 AM

            It's pretty thick, when I mean watery tasting I guess I mean bland? It's does not have that oniony bite if you know what I mean. Maybe some MSG would help?I used tinned sauce so I am reluctant to add salt because I like my sauce to sit in the fridge for a day and the flavour changes.

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