Isn’t it fun when something new becomes a regular in your life? Whether a movie that weasels its way into your fixed rotation, a song that you will never stop playing, or in my case, a recipe I come back to time and time again, it’s usually an unexpected surprise. I made this caramelized French onion dip for the first time a few summers ago and find myself coming back to it season after season.
This caramelized french onion dip uncovers that feeling of nostalgia of the French’s onion powder mix I grew up on. I thought recreating that dip would be a fun experiment, a recipe I try once happily but wouldn’t need to return to. I was wrong. This recipe has grown into a staple of mine, a regular character my life and there’s no turning back.
The flavors give a warm feeling to this chilled dish. The brandy-sherry combination, the bay leaves and nutmeg, all give those subtle undertones that the powder stuff just… lacks. Now, I’m a garlic girl through and through so I obviously included a few cloves. Not too many – we want an onion dip after all.
Serve the caramelized French onion dip with chips, a baguette, or on top of a potato pancake. Or, eat it straight with a spoon. No judgin’.
Okay now before this turns into a full blown love letter, let’s get to the recipe and please do yourself a favor and try this out.
Caramelized French Onion Dip
- 3 sweet onions halved, then sliced thin
- 1 shallot sliced
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- ¼ cup brandy
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- pepper to taste
- salt to taste
- 16 oz sour cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives chopped
- Kettle chips for serving
- Add olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Add onions, shallots, garlic, and stir. Add the butter on top, then cover and let sit 15-20 mins, stirring every 5 or so minutes. Add the salt, sherry, brandy, bay leaves, nutmeg, pepper and thyme and stir, then leave uncovered. The onions will cook for another 20-30 minutes and will need stirring every 5. Stirring too frequently won’t allow the onions to caramelize, but keep an eye on them to not burn. Once caramelized to your liking, take off the heat and let cool.
- To make the dip, mix the onions, sour cream, and chives if using. I like to take out 1-2 teaspoons of onion before mixing to serve on top. Once the dip is all mixed, do a taste test with the chips you plan to serve with to make sure the dip is salted enough. You may need another 1-2 teaspoons here. When satisfied with seasoning, add the remaining onion pieces and any additional chives or pepper flakes to garnish.
- You can prepare the onions days in advance, and you can prepare the entire dip a day in advance of serving. This recipe can be easily doubled (or tripled) in which case a pot will be easier than a pan.
- Will seem like a lot but it will all go down. Mix around until coated. Cover and let heat for about 15-20 mins, stirring every once in a while so it cooks evenly. Add the sherry, brandy, and bay leaves.. Add nutmeg, thyme, pepper, and salt. Stir until fully coated. Onions will need to cook for another 20-30 minutes. Don’t stir too often, let onions sit for 3-5 mins between stirs so they can caramelize.
- You can make this up to 3 days in advance. If the same day, let the onion mix cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before mixing with sour cream
- Optional: before mixing in, set aside 1 tablespoon of onion mixture to garnish. Mix the rest of the onion mix with sour cream. Optional to top with remainder onions and thin chive slices