Balsamic-Glazed Red Onions

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Onions are too often the supporting actors in the kitchen when they should be the stars.

This stunning dish gives red onions their own glamorous role at the table. Roasted and glazed with balsamic vinegar, these onions can accompany a vegetarian main course or a succulent roast chicken without skipping a beat.

Even better: the recipe is so simple that you’ll think you’re cheating.

When you’re prepping the onions for this dish, peel until there’s no papery skin left. Also keep the roots intact by barely trimming them so that the onion wedges stay joined during roasting.

Pack the onion wedges tightly into your baking dish – really jam them in – and sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic, and fresh oregano, or whatever other herb you have on hand.

Roast them for a whole hour – don’t skimp on the timing. The finished onions should be practically melting by the time they’re done.

The last pièce de résistance is a balsamic-Dijon glaze poured over top the nearly-finished onions. Send the onions back to the oven briefly, then sprinkle with a little extra oregano and present your new starring dish to the table.

Balsamic-Glazed Red Onions Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

For the onions:

  • 4 medium red onions (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method

1 Prepare the onions: Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice off any straggly roots from the onions, leaving the firm root centers intact. Cut the onions in half from tip to root. Peel off the skins until all the papery layers are removed. Cut each half into 4 wedges, slicing through the root so that the wedges stay intact.

2 Pack onions into baking dish: Pack the onions as tightly as you can into a 1 to 1 1/2 quart baking dish (9-inch round or oval, 8-inch square).

balsamic-onions-method-1 balsamic-onions-method-2

Sprinkle the olive oil, balsamic, 1 tablespoon of the oregano, salt, pepper evenly over the top. (No need to stir or you'll disturb the pretty arrangement!)

3 Roast the onions: Cover the baking dish with foil and roast the onions for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue roasting the onions uncovered for 30 minutes more.

4 Make the glaze: In a bowl, whisk the balsamic, mustard, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.

5 Pour the glaze over the roasted onions and return the dish to the oven. Continue cooking another 10 minutes, or until the onions are very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

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6 Sprinkle the onions with the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano before serving.

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Sheryl Julian

Sheryl Julian is an award-winning writer, editor, and food stylist. She is the former food editor of The Boston Globe, co-author of The Way We Cook, and editor of The New Boston Globe Cookbook. Her food sections won Best Newspaper Food Coverage from the Association of Food Journalists in 2015.

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Balsamic Onions

6 Comments

  1. David Jordan

    Thanks for the recipe I like onions.

  2. whp

    Can one substitute shallots for red onions and, if so, how many (or how many pounds) and would you slice them or leave them whole? Thank you!

    • Sheryl Julian

      Hello whp! Shallots in this quantity would be too strong, but you can substitute sweet white onions, if you like. Happy cooking!

  3. Peg Pierce

    Can these be made ahead of time and thenreheated, while the turkey is resting??

    • Sheryl Julian

      Hello Peg! Yes, make ahead but do not glaze. Reheat at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until hot. Then glaze and cook 15 minutes (it’s OK that the oven temp isn’t at 400 at this point). Happy cooking!

  4. Natalie

    I love onions, you’re right they are far too often neglected. Slow cooked they’re just the best, such a great side for the autumn

    – Natalie

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