Monday, February 15, 2010

Savory Onion Pie encased with care by The Cast of Cheers

There was a time that I swore off alliums altogether. I remember it well. It was late 1998, right after a basketball game. I sat down to read Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov (one of my favorite books of all time) and slogged through twenty, thirty, forty pages all about an onion being peeled. I skimmed most of the passage, thinking that it was completely stupid. The following day we were asked to write an essay dissecting the "parable of the onion." It was at that point, as I put pen to paper, that I thought (expletive deleted) onions.

But, as things go, onions are one of J-Fur's favorites and eventually I had to face my past head on. I made it through. Now I do things like this:

Savory Onion Pie (adapted from Valentine Warner recipe)
(printable version)

For the Crust:
-1 1/2 cups of flour
-17 Tbsp. of butter
-3 egg yolks

For the onion pie:
-12 white onions
-1 stick of butter (8 Tbsp.)
-5 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
-1.5 Tbsp brown sugar
-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
-2 tsp sea salt

1. To make the pastry. Put the flour in a food processor and pulse with butter. The mixture should look like crumbs. Add the egg yolks (one at a time) and pulse until the ingredients are combined. Remove from the food processor and form dough into a ball (do not knead). Wrap in cling wrap and store in the fridge for two hours.

2. Dice the onions. Melt the butter in a large pot with a lid. When butter is melted, add the onions. Cook for two hours, stirring occasionally.

3. Preheat the oven to 390 degrees and grease a tart pan (mine was non-stick so I didn't bother with the greasing).

4. Add the vinegar, sugar, mustard and salt to the onions. Caramelize the onions (be careful not to burn them) by cooking for another thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Roll out the dough. Line the tart pan with it (leave a little hanging over the sides if possible). Cover the pan with foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden. Remove the foil and cook an additional five minutes.

6. Remove the crust from the oven and fill with the onion mixture. Use a spatula to smooth it. Top with Parmesan cheese and pepper. Return to the oven and bake another ten minutes. Serve immediately.

As you can tell, this dish took a long time to prepare. So instead of the normal three to four songs by various bands, I listened to an entire album. This time it was The Cast of Cheers, an Irish band that reminds me a lot of Bloc Party. The bands first album, Chariot, won't be released until April 1st but they are currently offering it free at their bandcamp site.

Here are my favorites:

The Cast of Cheers-Goose

The Cast of Cheers-I am lion

The Cast of Cheers-Tip the Can