A few weekends back, I somehow ended up watching the AFL grand final for the second year in a row. I’m not the kind of person that loves league over AFL or union over soccer or another of those impossibly long combinations of what sport is better then the other. I honestly dislike watching all sports on TV, so watching a grand final of a game I don’t care for on TV is not my first pick. I must stop making friends with people that like AFL…ha, just kidding :)
I shouldn’t complain though, because washed down with a few weekend beverages and way too many dips (including this caramelised onion one) the game was over very quickly and then we were able to take advantage of Singapore’s always warm climate for a swim.
The night then progressed into further shenanigans which included me surprising everyone with how many of the lyrics I know to I’m On a Boat and the other ladies and myself screaming names of nineties rap and hip hop songs to Key so that he could play them for us to dance and sing scream to.
My favourite selections of the night:
- Forgot About Dre – Dr Dre feat. Eminem
- I Like Big Butts – Sir Mixalot
- Jump Jump – Kriss Kross
- No Diggity – Blackstreet
Ok. We should talk about this caramelised onion dip now.
You will probably need 2 small red onions and 2 large brown onions for the amounts in the recipe. You can see that my brown onions were bigger than the red ones so I didn’t end up using that third one in the photo. You can of course just use all red or all brown onions for this as well.
The onions don’t have to be chopped super fine but don’t leave them too big either or they will not cook in the 35 minute cooking time.
If you use a heavy based saucepan and cook on very low, then your onions shouldn’t catch or burn during the cooking time. If they do look like they are starting to burn or catch though, reduce the heat and add a little more water or olive oil to the saucepan.
I absolutely love the smell of caramelised onions. Once they are cooked, lay them out on a plate to allow them to cool quickly.
The processed onion and thyme mix doesn’t need to be a puree, it should still be quite thick and paste like.
The final mixing in of the last few ingredients is what turns these amazing caramelised onions into a dip.
The dip can be served immediately or refrigerated until needed. Make sure you do remove it from the fridge at least 20 minutes before serving though, otherwise the flavours could be dulled and it could be too firm for dipping.
Caramelised Onion Dip
Ingredients – Makes about 1½ cups of dip
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 cup of peeled and roughly diced red onion
- 1½ cups of peeled and roughly diced brown onion
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tbs malt vinegar, alternatively balsamic can also be used
- 2 whole sprigs of thyme plus ½ tsp of picked fresh thyme leaves
- 1 whole star anise
- ½ cup of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
- ¼ tsp of dried garlic powder
- 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
- Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over a low heat.
- Once the butter bubbles, add all of the onions and stir to coat in the butter and oil mix.
- Add the brown sugar, vinegar, whole thyme sprigs, star anise, a pinch of sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and 1 tbs of water.
- Stir to combine and then continue cooking uncovered on low for 30 minutes, stirring the pot often. If the onions start to catch a lot on the bottom, add a dash more water.
- After 30 minutes, the onions should be a burnished golden colour and very soft. Deglaze the pan with 2 tbs of hot water and scrape up any dark bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Cook the onions for a further 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove the woody thyme sprigs and star anise from the pan and then spread out the caramelised onions on a plate or tray. Let them cool for 10 minutes.
- Reserve 1 tbs of the caramelised onions to use for garnish later. Place the rest of the onions with the ½ tsp of picked thyme leaves in a mini processor and process until a thick, paste like consistency forms.
- Add the processed onions to a medium sized bowl and add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well with a large spoon until everything is well combined and is a dip-like consistency.
- Taste for seasoning and add a touch more salt if necessary.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the reserved caramelised onions pieces. Either serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. Keeps well in the fridge overnight if covered tightly. If refrigerating the dip, take it out of the fridge around 20 minutes before serving.
- Serve with salted potato chips and crudités of your choice.