Talk about a vegetable that's everywhere. The humble onion is one of the most common aromatic vegetables, popping up in so many ways across so many cuisines.
And it's not just for taste. The onion also happens to be a healthy ingredient. It's also a delicious way to add bulk to a dish without adding many calories or any fat. Thing is, we typically use onions in such small quantities that they serve more to highlight the other items in a dish rather than strut their own stuff.
The exception? Onion soup.
The genesis of onion soup is unclear, but some attribute the version we know today to a French king. Even in modern France, onion soup is slurped up by late-night revelers taking a break in the party to revitalize their bodies.
While I tend to sip my onion soup at a more reasonable hour, I find it equally comforting. There is nothing as soothing as the luscious sweetness of a cooked onion, particularly one from which a caramel color and flavor have been coaxed unhurriedly. Add a rich broth and a bit of cheese, and you have a delicious luxury.
The secret is in not rushing the caramelizing of the onions. And that's a fine way to put your slow cooker to work. It conveniently caramelizes the onions overnight.
And if you want, you can stop right there — with caramelized onions. Put them in a small jar in the refrigerator and use them as a spread or topping. Or continue on and make the whole soup.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget.