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Sweet and Sour Vidalia Onions

Vidalia onions are full of natural sugars that soften their pungency. Slow-cooking them in a bath of sugar-fortified red-wine vinegar and chicken broth accentuates the inherent sweetness of the vegetable. This cooking liquid doubles as a rich, butter-free sauce, accented by mellow roasted garlic and woodsy fresh thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Vidalia onions
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper for sprinkling
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 3 Tbs. Cabernet wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. sugar

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Peel and quarter the onions, leaving just enough of the root end attached to keep the wedges together. Arrange the onions in a roasting pan in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. On a cutting board with the side of a large knife, mash the garlic clove and add it to the dish, then add the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Drizzle the oil over the onions.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the 1 cup broth to a boil. Add the vinegar and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour the broth mixture over the onions. There should be enough to come halfway up the sides of the onions. Add a bit more chicken broth, if needed. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake the onions, stirring occasionally, until they release some of their juice and begin to soften, 30 to 40 minutes. Carefully remove the foil, raise the oven temperature to 400°F and bake, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to about 2 Tbs. and the onions are very soft, 60 to 75 minutes more.

Transfer the onions to a serving dish and serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).