Crazy Jar Lady
Cry me a river... of broth...
There was an abundance of onions in the pantry needing used up. Bestie had made a batch of Onion Broth before and it was wonderful; hmmm..... Bookface had a wealth of posts about Caramelized Onions awhile back; hmmm.... I decided to combine the 2 and turn Superbowl Sunday into Superbroth Sunday. (ba dum ching)
Most of the videos and recipes for Caramelized Onions show a slow cooker going basically all night. I wanted to start and finish this project in 1 day. Paperwork beckons on Monday. Since I use the Instant Pot to speed up all kinds of cooking; I thought maybe this was something that could be accomplished using that appliance. Turns out that it works really well. While this isn't a 1 pot venture, it was a reasonably speedy one in comparison to the majority of recipes I could find. As usual, I adapted a few ideas from different recipes to create this one and it's a winner in my book.
Most recipes called for the onions to be sliced and I thought a half inch dice would work nicely instead. It would make for tender pieces but not messy stringy ones. Since I also wanted to make Onion Broth, I washed the onions and set aside the trimmings. The only parts discarded were bad spots or soft layers of onion. I then set to dicing 15 pounds of the oldest onions using my handy dandy little food chopper**. I filled both Instant Pots and set them to cooking. They only run for 5 min at high pressure and the onions are perfectly softened but not disintegrated.
Since the Instant Pots were only going to par-cook the onions, they still needed to be caramelized. I found the big stock pot and a few scoops at a time, set to sauteing the onions to give them a golden color and develop the sweet flavors. The onions wanted to stick a little bit and that led me to add a bit of olive oil with each batch to keep them from sticking to the pan.
After getting the onions sauteed; the leftover liquid they created while in the Instant Pots needed to be reduced. I simmered that down to about half volume and it was basically a loose gravy consistency. I also used some of the liquid to deglaze the stockpot of the browned bits of onions left in the bottom.
I dug out the wide mouth pint jars and packed the onions in semi-loosely and layered onions with sauce to get to 1 inch headspace. I debubbled (I heard that gasp Margaret), wiped the rims and set them aside to start the onion broth.
You wouldn't think broth made from straight onions would be good. I'm telling you the flavor it adds to whatever you use it for is fantastic. I don't think it will last long. I use it when making gravies, braising meats and one lady said she used it to cook her rice in for fried rice. I had enough onion trimmings to fill both Instant Pots. Then I added a little garlic I needed to use up and some salt because I never add enough salt when I'm making this kind of stuff. I filled the Instant Pots up to the max line and set them both to high pressure for 40 min. I strained the broth and set it aside. The onions made the prettiest dark brown broth! I like to get as much good out of the scraps as I can so I added both batches of scraps back into 1 of the Instant Pots, added more salt and garlic, filled with water, and set it to go again. This 3rd batch wasn't as dark but is still flavorful.
15 pounds of onions yields about 10 pints of caramelized onions and 15 quarts and 1 pint of onion broth! I think that's pretty good for veggies that were starting to go blah.
Now it was time to get to pressure canning! The caramelized onions are processed for 40 min for pints. The broth processed for 25 min in quarts. I had made chicken broth (9 quarts) earlier in the week to can so I added that to round out batches in the canners. For the last batch, only 1 pressure canner was needed so I re-canned (waterbathed) some commercial salsa (6 pints) that came in plastic containers to start with.
3 loads of dishes and 1 load of kitchen towels later.... there's still dishes to be done. I've worn myself out.
How did ya'll spend your Sunday?
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