Chopping onions can be like watching a good tear-jerker--you weep and sniffle a lot. But onions bring a savory, rich flavor to cooking. So I plunged into a pile of onions, chopping and caramelizing them all at once. I used half for a dinner of grilled sausages served with whole-grain mustard on a bed of onions, and the other half I saved for this Creamy Onion Soup, served the next day.
To caramelize onions, begin by chopping 5 large onions. Heat 5 tablespoons butter in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden brown, 25 minutes longer. Adjust the heat so the onions brown but do not burn. Remove 2 cups onions; cool, cover and refrigerate. Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar to the onions remaining in the pan, plus salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grilled sausages.
The best news: With these leftovers, you get to make a French bistro-style onion soup without shedding another round of tears!