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Balsamic Braised Cipolline Onions with Fennel Seed and Thyme
By Chef Cory Shreiber

12 medium Cipolline Onions peeled (If Cipolline Onions are not available, use another variety of small round onion such as a copra or Organic Yellow Onion.)
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Olive Oil
12 sprigs Thyme
2 tablespoons Fennel seeds coarsely cracked
8 cloves Organic Garlic peeled
1 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Water

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Place the onions in a shallow baking dish so that they are in a single layer.

In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sprigs of thyme, cracked fennel seeds, garlic cloves, salt, black pepper and water. Mix well and spoon this mixture over the onions. Cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes.

Remove the cover, and baste the onions with the braising liquid. Continue baking without the cover for another 20 minutes. (If using copra or yellow onions, they may need more time to soften.)

When the onions are soft to the touch, and can be pierced with a knife without resistance, remove from the oven. Place the onions onto a large plate.

Strain the braising mixture into a sauce pan and reduce until 1/2 cup of liquid remains.

Pour this liquid over the onions. The onions can cool slightly and then be served at room temperature, or re-warmed in the oven for a few minutes.

Cipolline onions, the round, flat, Italian onion you see at the farmer’s markets, grow well in the soil of Oregon. It is meant to be cooked slowly, not eaten raw or grilled whole. The Cipolline is at its best when either slow-roasted in its skin on a bed of salt, or braised in an aromatic liquid. The natural sugars then develop, the onion softens and offers an uncommon autumn vegetable for the Thanksgiving feast.

For this recipe, I am specifying one per person, which would require shopping for onions that are two to three inches across.

If you can only find smaller ones, then offer two to three onions per person. (The cooking time would change slightly in the initial stage, dropping to 30 minutes instead of 40.)

The real test for doneness is inserting a knife into the onion so that it goes in with little resistance.

If the braising liquid has evaporated to the point that the onions are coated evenly, then it does not have to be further reduced.