Making caramelized onions takes a long time – 40-45 minutes or so to do it properly. Sometimes I need them in a hurry and that’s just way too long. So I’ve been cheating like this:
I sweat the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I’m impatient so I use medium heat and I use very little oil so the onions start browning pretty quickly. I keep stirring to coat the onions with some of the brown bits. I deglaze with a splash of water now and then to keep it from scorching. After just 10 minutes or so, the onions are already a pretty golden color and they’ve become quite pliable. I dump the onions into a bowl, cover with plastic and microwave for 4-5 minutes. The bowl gets freaking hot so I use a pot holder to remove it. I return the onions to the pan and let them get deep golden brown at medium heat - which takes only 2-3 minutes more. I deglaze again if it starts to scorch and stick to the pan. This method doesn’t develop as much sugar as the *proper* method, but takes about half the time and works just fine for 90% of recipes I make.