The Time Is Now

Support local, independent reporting.

Help the city we love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

JOIN NOW

Jim Dixon’s DIY Dish: Onions Braised in Red Wine with Prunes

Onions braised in red wine is one of those deceptively simple preparations that transcends its humble beginnings.

Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business, Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.

Onions Braised in Red Wine with Prunes

I first tasted onions braised in red wine years ago at Navarre, and it’s one of those deceptively simple preparations that transcends its humble beginnings. Slice a few onions, cook them briefly in olive oil and butter, cover them with red wine, simmer for an hour, and the results are like magic.

There were a few raisins sprinkled in with those onions at Navarre, but I like to use prunes so I get a bigger bite of the soft, wine-plumped fruit, which gives up much of its sweetness during cooking. Since this is peasant food, pick a decent but everyday red wine, especially since you’ll be drinking the half bottle you don’t use for the onions. They go well with meat, but they’re just as good on their own.

4-6 red onions

20-30 pitted prunes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

½ bottle red wine, about 1 ½ cups

Salt to taste

Cut the onions in half through the root end, peel them and cut each half into three thick slices. Heat the oil and butter in a wide, shallow pot with a lid, add the onions with a good pinch of salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they’re soft, about 15 minutes.

Add the prunes and red wine, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for an hour. Taste and add salt as needed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a bowl or platter, increase the heat to medium, and reduce the remaining liquid to about ½ cup. Pour it over the onions.

Serve these warm or at room temperature; they’re even better the next day.