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French Onion Dip

french onion dip

My favorite dip EVER is French onion dip. Onion soup has been around since recorded ancient times, but French onion soup was the inspiration for the dip which became popular in the United States about 60 years ago. I have not asked any of them lately, but I bet the French would happily disown the dip version of their lovely soup. Growing up we always had packets of French onion soup mix in the pantry. I was in my 30s before I actually used the mix to make soup. Until then I had only used the packets for making dip or seasoning meats. Not bad tasting as a soup, but fresh, from scratch versions tastes better in pretty much every case.

Of late, I have been looking closely at ingredients of everything I buy, especially anything processed or convenient. This led to me being unimpressed with some of the packet ingredients – sugar, corn syrup, monosodium glutamate….I am pretty sure the Romans did not use much of those in their onion soup, and I am not keen on consuming them. It is easy to make packet-free French onion dip, and it is fun too! It takes a bit longer, but if you are in the kitchen doing other things anyway, you probably won’t notice.

Have you ever caramelized onions? It is a kitchen task I always enjoy if I have the time. Onion, water and a little salt makes for an impressive result. The biggest challenge is carefully watching while they cook (but not burn) and avoiding the temptation to stir. A while back I made some onion paste, which can also be used to make French onion dip, but I am going to elaborate a bit here on making chunky, caramelized onions that lead to the dip’s main ingredient.

French Onion Dip

1 large onion (Vidalia works great, but any yellow or white type will do)
2 cups water
1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Roughly chop the onion, making sure all the pieces are broken up. Heat a medium saute pan to medium high. When the pan is hot add the onion to the dry pan. Let cook for about five minutes without stirring, allowing the onion to release moisture and begin to brown. Toss onion and let cook undisturbed for another three minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and stir, making sure to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let cook undisturbed for 3 – 5 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce. When liquid is almost gone and onions begin to brown and caramelize again, stir and add another 1/2 cup of water. Repeat the liquid reduction and stirring two more times, until all the water is incorporated. Sprinkle onions with 1/4 tsp salt. Stir and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, mustard, pepper and more salt to taste. Add the cooled onions and stir until combined. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight before serving. Serve with vegetables, chips and crackers.

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