I learned how to caramelize onions from my father, who was patient and careful. He would put the onions in a Dutch oven with butter, a pinch of sugar and a branch of thyme, then let it bubble slowly for about an hour until the onions turned the color of butterscotch. The whole house smelled amazing.
Years later, I learned a faster way: Lay the onions in a dry, wide skillet over medium-high heat and let them turn dark brown at the edges without adding any fat. Then add oil and sauté until tender and golden. Total time: under 15 minutes. The quicker onions aren’t as sweet as the long-simmered ones, but I like their savoriness and slightly charred, smoky taste, and it’s handy to have both methods up your sleeve.
It’s the speedier technique that anchors Yasmin Fahr’s excellent recipe for skillet chicken with mushrooms and caramelized onions. It has the deep umami flavors of French onion soup, translated into a one-pan chicken dinner that’s zipped up with mustard, chile flakes and sherry vinegar. You can pile it on rice or buttered noodles, or add something green and fresh, like a big, fluffy salad. Or serve it with both for a true weeknight feast.
Here’s another great use for that skillet: Eric Kim’s maple-soy pork chops with shichimi togarashi. It’s a simple recipe that delivers an outsize bang from just a few ingredients. You can buy shichimi togarashi, the citrusy Japanese chile spice blend, in Asian markets or online. Or whip up a pantry-friendly approximation of it yourself; Eric includes a tip in his recipe to help you out.
The weather has turned chilly here in New York, making me crave spicy, soupy things like Millie Peartree’s easy coconut curry fish, filled with soft, simmered bell peppers and a smack of lime right at the end. Its sunny yellow color from curry powder and turmeric will shine on the darkest of nights.
Another vivid dish to bring color to your table is Joshua McFadden’s kale sauce pasta, as adapted by Tejal Rao. The kale in this meatless dish is quickly blanched to maintain its hue, then blended with plenty of good olive oil, garlic and grated cheese until it emulsifies into a verdant, deeply flavored sauce for any pasta shape you like. Don’t miss the recipe notes: There are loads of brilliant variations, including using the green sauce in a cheese lasagna, or adding tofu to the blender for a protein hit. Then make the dish and leave your own note. Other cooks will thank you.
And for dessert, enjoy even more brightness in the form of cookie-like lemon cakes, inspired by a favorite confection of the Lady of Winterfell Sansa Stark from “A Song of Ice and Fire,” the book series behind “Game of Thrones.” Serve them for a cozy teatime while ruling over your kingdom.
To get these and all the other thousands of recipes available at New York Times Cooking, you’ll want to subscribe (and thank you if you already do). For technical issues, send an email to email@example.com; there’s someone there who can help. And I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to say hello.
That’s all for now. I’ll see you on Wednesday.