Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chips, dips and dorks.

Caramelized onion dip, aka "crack dip." © Ryan Schierling
Onion dip.

This is not a subject lightly traversed in this household.

Your mother might tell you to get a dry packet of Knorr's or Lipton Onion Soup Mix and stir it up with some sour cream and mayonnaise, and I would promptly tell your mother to get bent.

That's not onion dip. Nor are the tubs of "Onion Dip" or "French Onion Dip" or "Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Whipped With Dehydrated Onion Pieces" next to the sour cream and margarine products at your local grocer. They are simulacrum. Amalgamations. Abominations. (And I hold deep-seated reservations.)

This onion dip is three ingredients.

It sounds easy. Too easy. But it's not. It takes 24 hours to make, and do not take those 24 hours lightly.

Five of them are spent cooking onions on a slow, low flame. You'll weep bitter tears cutting a metric ton of onions, and soon, your house, your clothes, your hair-do, will all smell like simmering onion. It permeates everything and will be all you can think about. It's like Great Depression-era cooking. But you'll ultimately be rewarded with an onion dip that's like none other.

So here it is:

Caramelized Onion Dip

8 baseball-size white onions, chopped
32 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce (aka Woozy)

Get out your biggest skillet, put it on a low heat (gas mark 2, or "low" on an electric range). Cooking oil, olive oil, whatever... put a good thin layer on the bottom of the skillet. Start piling the sliced onions in. Make note of the time (as you will be tending to your onions on a semi-hourly basis) and walk away. Have a cocktail. Have another cocktail. Check your Twitter feed. Download that Japandroids album you've been meaning to get and IM Starkey that a pony-size Chicken Fried Steak horseshoe at D'Arcy's Pint is just half-assed.

Go stir your onions

Continue to do so intermittently for the next five hours (paying particular attention to the last hour, and especially the last half-hour, as the batch is supremely caramelizing at this point), until the eight full-sized onions you started with have reduced themselves gloriously to about 1 1/2 cups of brown gooey onion goodness. Turn off the stove.

Onions, hours 0-5. © Ryan Schierling
Shovel those hot onions into a bowl and refrigerate them until they're cool enough to mix with that sour cream I was talking about earlier (about four hours in the fridge). After the onions have chilled, spoon them into a large mixing bowl with the 32 oz. of sour cream. Add 1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce and mix very thoroughly. Ridiculously thoroughly. Put plastic wrap over the top and refrigerate for the next 15 hours.

Don't even think about taste-testing until the time's up. Trust me. Just wait.

Stir it up well.

And then, be prepared with at least two large bags of Wavy Lay's (Ruffles just don't hold up to this) for what will be your new guilty, guilty pleasure.

Oh, and Super Bowl, Super Bowl, party dip, something something. 


  1. Damn you. Looks like I'll be consuming 32oz of Sour Cream in a few Sunday from now!

  2. Ross, you can use 16 oz. of regular sour cream and 16 oz. of light sour cream if you want. We normally buy Daisy brand because there are no additives.

  3. Umm sir, are you licensed to say "Super Bowl"?

    Seriously, I have made this recipe quite a few times and it is wonderful. Thank you brother for sharing.

  4. For all they know, I was talking about a Super Bowl of onion dip. As long as I don't use any "pictures, descriptions or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent," we're golden.

  5. Dip is in the fridge. Whew, right in the nick of time. 15 hours till Super Bowl.

  6. Awesome, Megan! You'll be glad you didn't skimp on the "flavor blending quiet time" in the fridge.

  7. Okay, I decided what this is like:

    You know how when you're a kid, Kraft mac n cheese is the one true mac n cheese, because you're too young to really appreciate the homestyle mac n cheese that actually goes in the oven with the real cheese and breadcrumbs and stuff?

    This onion dip is to Lipton onion dip as homestyle mac n cheese is to Kraft mac n cheese.

    It's for adults. It doesn't fuck around.

  8. The onion dip's theme song can be Viva Voce's "We Do Not Fuck Around."

  9. Hi. I set my stove top to as low as it gets (any higher started browning the onions too quickly), and it took 3 hours to get to a lovely brown (like your 5th pic stage). Problem is, they went super dry and chewy :(

    Any ideas?

    1. Dry and chewy sounds too hot too fast? Fried, then dehydrated onions. There are a lot of variables that could be at play... how low a heat your burner can get (electric vs. gas), the shape and conductivity of your particular pan, etc. After about hour 3-4 (stage 5 pic) it really is a matter of being attentive and going extra slow and low heat-wise until you have something that is still just moist, but deeper in color. That said, if you stop at a late version of "stage 5" you'll still have a great onion dip to show for it. The key things are to finally cook off the excess moisture and to get a nice caramel color on the onions.

      We haven't tried it ourselves, but if you have a crock pot, it looks like you could get some good results using that method - it just takes about twice as long.

  10. Onionized crack sir! Make this again, soon!


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