Monday, October 15, 2012

Caramelized Onion Orzo with Mushrooms

Following yesterday’s post, I thought it only right that today I give equal time to Roasting’s twin, Caramelizing.  They are fraternal twins, but closely resemble each other, and it’s safe to say that I love Caramelizing every bit as much as Roasting.  Of course, my very favorite thing to caramelize is onions, which is why I came up with this recipe.  I could spend hours upon hours telling you the many reasons I love them, but you might get a little bored, or worse, think I’m crazy.  Let’s just say each bite is like a sweet little morsel from Heaven, and leave it at that. 
Now, onions are the most widely known for being caramelized but if you have never done carrots that way, well, you just haven’t lived!  But, I’ll save that recipes for another time and another post.  For the time being, we’ll just stick with the Orzo.

I should warn you, though, that this is not a quick recipe.  Caramelizing the onions takes about an hour, so be prepared, and leave yourself enough time.

Here is the Cast of Characters

8 Oz. orzo pasta
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 onions, diced into bite-size pieces
Carton of sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 Cups chicken broth, divided
2 Tsp. minced garlic
1 Tsp. each, Lawry's season salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 Tsp. ground thyme
1 Tbsp. butter
3 1/2 Cups water

In a skillet, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the onions.  Start browning on medium heat.

Stir often because you don't want them to burn.  When they are starting to become a nice gold color, turn down to medium-low heat.

The key is to keep stirring every so often until they are a rich brown color, usually about an hour.  Remove from skillet, and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and  all but 1/4 cup of the mushrooms.  For the larger slices, break into smaller pieces.

Saute for about 7 or 8 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring now and then, until tender and fragrant. 

Take those from the skillet, and add to the onions. 

Now, melt the butter in the skillet along with the minced garlic, still on medium-low.

See all those bits of brown, that is all kinds of good flavor from the onions and mushrooms.  You want that!  Scrape those into the butter and garlic, and saute for about 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, turn to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Add the Lawry's, pepper and thyme.

Continue boiling, stirring frequently, until it has reduced by half, and thickened up.

Meanwhile, in a pot, bring 3 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup chicken broth to a boil.  Throw in remaining mushrooms, which have been chopped into small pieces.  Once boiling, add orzo and cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat.

It will seem like you don't have enough water, but you will.  The orzo takes on a mock risotto consistency.  Stir often to keep from sticking.  If the orzo has absorbed all the water, and there is still time left to cook, add a little more water, but not much.  Once the orzo is done, drain any leftover water.  Add to the skillet with the sauce.

Add caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Incorporate them into the orzo, and heat through, about 2 minutes.  Serve.