Red wine glazed pearl onions are caramelized in a flavorful sauce. Delicious and festive side dish for any holiday meal.
When I was working as an editor at Martha Stewart magazine, I used pearl onions in a recipe for the first time. I thought they were so cute, just mini little white onions. However I soon realized I did not like cooking with them!
They were so hard to prep and it took forever! You peel the dry skins off but there is still a tough skin left, that if you pulled off with a knife would peel the first layer of the onion away with it. Seeing as how these onions are tiny, you do this, and you’re left with nothing. So you have to blanch the onions. Simmer in boiling water for about a minute then plunge into ice cold water. Then, and only then, you can spend the next half hour with a paring knife peeling the loosened skin from the outside layer.
Then you’re done, and can use them in your recipe. Just like that! Well, I’ve wised up. I’ve been around the kitchen if you will! You can buy pearl onions already peeled in the freezer section of your grocery store! WHAT? It’s amazing. Someone, or probably some machine, has peeled those little suckers for me.
Red wine glazed pearl onions can be made in a fraction of the time with frozen onions, already peeled!
And so I can make my glazed pearl onions in a fraction of the time. They are decadent little morsels after being simmered in reduced red wine. Rich, caramelized and flavorful. A glorious side dish to my Prime Rib. I’ve also paired this dish with my other beautiful side dish, Baby Broccoli with Hazelnut Butter.
The onions get cooked with herby goodness like thyme and bay leaf. I’ve added a little acid in red wine vinegar with the dry red wine. It becomes a lovely mix of sweet onion and savory herbs.
Red Wine-Glazed Pearl Onions - a glorious side dish for prime rib.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 bags (1 lb each) frozen white pearl onions thawed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme springs plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
In al arge skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 bag of onions, the bay leaf and 1 thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to turn deep golden brown in spots, 6 to 8 min. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining 1 tbsp oil, onions and thyme sprig. Return first batch to skillet.
In a small bowl, stir together vinegar, wine, sugar and salt. Add to onions and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is the consistency of a syrup and onions are glazed, 20 to 25 min. discard bay leaf and stir in pepper. Garnish with thyme.
Use pearl onions from the frozen foods section at the grocer. So much easier that fresh!
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Recipe & food styling Tara Bench
Photographer Quentin Bacon
Prop Stylist Bella Foster
Originally published Ladies’ Home Journal Dec 2007