Nothing is better than caramelized onions, unless it is caramelized onions made with beer! Here caramelized brown-ale onions lend a sweet-and-sour umph! to grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
Active preparation time: 15 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Caramelized Beer Onions
1 Tbs butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper
¼ cup (59 ml) brown ale
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt and heat the butter until it stops crackling. Add the onions, stirring from the bottom up, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in the beer and bring to boil; reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until onions are golden and the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
Ham and Gouda Sandwiches
¼ cup (59 ml) mayonnaise
Four 6" (15 cm) pieces filone (a long, thin Italian yeast bread similar to a French baguette), split horizontally
2 oz (57 g) thinly shaved ham
2 oz (57 g) thinly shaved Gouda
¼ cup caramelized beer onions
Spread the mayonnaise on the inside of each piece of filone and toast cut side down in a pan over medium heat until it crisps and is nicely brown. Turn the bread over and place the ham on four halves, then the cheese on the ham, then the caramelized beer onions on the cheese.
Top with the other halves of bread and press the sandwiches in the pan for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan, slice, and serve.
Beer Suggestions: The brown ale imparts some complex flavors with the caramelized onions. Try De Gouden Boom Steenbrugge Dubbel Bruin (Belgium), Black Tooth Brewing Saddle Bronc Brown (Sheridan, Wyoming), and City Star Brewing Bandit Brown Ale (Berthoud, Colorado).
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PHOTO: MATT GRAVES