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Moroccan Stewed and Caramelized Onions - Onion Mezgueldi

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Moroccan Stewed and Caramelized Onions - Onion Mezgueldi

Moroccan Spiced and Caramelized Onions - Mezgueldi

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

While traditional caramelized onions are prepared by sauteing, Moroccan spiced mezqueldi onions are slowly stewed stove top. Alternatively the onions can be baked in the oven. Although some recipes call for briefly boiling the onions first, it's really not necessary. Neither is stirring – just leave the onions undisturbed unless you'd like to pop them under the broiler for extra color at the end. Serve the onions as a garnish to grilled meats, tagines or poultry dishes.

I'm providing two variations – a peppery mezgueldi sweetened with sugar and cinnamon, the other robustly seasoned with paprika, cumin and cayenne. Adapted from recipes by Moroccan television chef Choumicha and Kayotic Kitchen.

Also try Chicken Mezqueldi and Tfaya, a caramelized onion and raisin garnish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • --- Mezgueldi with Cinnamon ---
  • 1 kg (2 lbs. 3 oz.) yellow or white onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 to 20 turns of a pepper mill, coarse grind
  • pinch of saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
  • --- Mezgueldi M'chermel ---
  • 1 kg (2 lbs. 3 oz.) yellow or white onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or black pepper
  • pinch of saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
  • small piece of cinnamon stick (optional)

Preparation:

Cut the onions into 1/4" thick slices. Leave the rings intact. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, add the onions, and gently stir to coat the onions with the seasoning.

Transfer the onions to a wide, deep skillet, tagine or baking dish. Swirl a tablespoon or so of water in the bowl to cleanse it of the spices and it to the onions. Cover the onions and cook slowly over medium-low heat (or bake in a 375° F (190° C) oven) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the onions are very soft and caramelized. Uncover and continue cooking if necessary to reduce the liquids.

If you like, brown the tops of the onions under a broiler before serving. Serve mezgueldi onions as a side dish or as a garnish for couscous, tagines and grilled meats. The onions may also be eaten with crusty bread like a dip.

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