Thursday, June 12, 2014

Balsamic & Bacon Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese


A while back I discovered this burger recipe that was topped with Balsamic & Bacon Caramelized Onions.  The burger was good, but the onions were out of this world!  We couldn't get enough. 

I was at Trader Joe's and picked up a block of this Cheddar and Gruyere melange.  It screamed out at me to be made into a grilled cheese and I knew that those onions would be the perfect complement to the strong flavor of the cheese.


Start out by making the onions.  Cut some bacon into small pieces and brown in a large pan.  While the bacon is cooking, slice up a red onion.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain off most of the grease from the pan.  Add the onions to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook over medium for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to get soft.

Add in some balsamic, a little dijon mustard, the cooked bacon, and some water.  Leave the pan uncovered and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed (about 3 more minutes).  I highly recommend making a double batch of these onions.  You can freeze them for whenever a craving strikes.  I do!  Then just defrost them in the fridge, or stick them on the counter for an hour or so, and reheat in the microwave.

Once you have your onions ready take a nice crusty bread, I used sourdough, and slice it kind of thick.  You want to use something hearty to hold up to the juicy onions.  This is not the time for soft potato bread.


After you slice your bread, slice enough cheese to cover your bread twice, you will be putting two layers of cheese on each sandwich.

Butter one side of your bread, I actually used a few spritzes of spray butter, and lay it buttered side down in a pan preheated over medium heat and sprayed with cooking spray.  Lay down your cheese slices to cover the bread.

Then use a fork to scoop the onions on top of the cheese (this will help make sure there isn't too much liquid).
 
Put another layer of cheese on top of the onions. 


Top this all with another slice of bread with the buttered side facing up.  Cover the pan and continue to cook, checking every couple of minutes, until the bottom layer of cheese starts to melt.  Then use a spatula to flip the sandwich.


Cook until the cheese is melted.  Then use a spatula to slide the sandwich onto your plate.  I recommend letting it cool for a couple of minutes before digging in.


The sharp flavor of the cheddar-gruyere, the sweet and tangy flavors from the onions, and the thick crusty buttered bread combine to create grilled cheese nirvana.  Mmm, mmm, mmm!


Balsamic & Bacon Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Adapted from Tracy's Culinary Adventures
  • Sourdough or other crusty bread
  • butter or butter spray
  • Cheddar & Gruyere melange
  • Balsamic & Bacon Caramelized Onions
    • 5 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
    • 1 red onion, halved and sliced
    • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1/2 tsp. dijon
To make onions:
  1. Cook bacon over medium heat in a large pan.  When cooked, remove to a paper towel lined plate and pour out all but 1 tbls. of bacon grease from the pan.
  2. Add onions to the pan with the bacon grease and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove cover and stir in balsamic vinegar, water, dijon, and cooked bacon.  Continue to cook, uncovered, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
To assemble sandwiches:
  1. Cut sourdough into thick slices and cut enough cheese to cover the bread twice.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Butter one side of the bread and place buttered side down in the pan.
  3. Cover the bread with cheese slices.  Then use a fork to top cheese with Balsamic Bacon Caramelized Onions.  Place another layer of cheese on the onions.  Top it all with another slice of bread, buttered side facing out.
  4. Cover the pan and cook until the bottom layer of cheese starts to melt.  Flip the sandwich and continue to cook until the cheese is melted.  
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