What I love about slow cookers is their convenience. My Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is like a magical device that turns raw ingredients into luscious food with almost no work. Let me explain with simple braised (caramelized) onions.
Have you ever caramelized onions on the stovetop? First, you melt butter in a big heavy pan, then you add a bunch of onions, and stand there, stirring and cooking, for an hour or more. Stand there. Stir. Monitor the heat. Check for any signs of burning. Stand there. Stir more.
There's a better way! How about this: Stick of butter, onions, and herbs in your slow cooker. Cook for a couple of hours, stir once, then cook more for hours and hours, blissfully unattended with no worries about burning. This is a better way!
Slow-Cooker Braised (Caramelized) Onions
Will make 6 cups caramelized onions
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
About 6 pounds large Spanish onions
2-4 Tablespoons fresh thyme
Peel and cut onions in half. Slice the onions about 1/4" thick from "pole to pole" - they'll hold their shape a little better cut this way. Cut the butter into eight pieces and scatter pieces over the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Layer the sliced onions and fresh thyme leaves into the slow cooker. Don't be afraid to completely fill the pot - they will cook down and not spill over.
Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir the onions well, then replace the cover and cook on high at least 6 hours more, until the onions are tender. When the onions are tender, if there is a lot of liquid in the pot, remove the lid and continue to cook on high another hour or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the slow cooker and let the onions sit, uncovered, for an hour to cool.
Transfer to pint jars and store in the refrigerator.
Note: These freeze very well. They have a zillion uses from onion soup to caramelized onion pizza to perfect accompaniments to meatloaf sandwiches to...well, you get the idea. Make a big batch, freeze them in pints, and thaw them as you need them. You won't regret it.