Browning onions is a matter of patience. My own patience ran out earlier this year while leafing through the New York Times food section. There, in the newspaper of record, was a recipe for savory scones with onions, currants, and caraway. Though I wasn’t particularly interested in making savory scones, one passage caught my eye:
Add the onions to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until they begin to turn dark brown and somewhat soft, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and a pinch of the fine sea salt; continue cooking until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes longer.
Soft, dark brown onions in five minutes. That is a lie. Fully caramelized onions in five minutes more. Also a lie.
I’ve always wondered this myself but the answer seems to be simply so they can say “meals in under 30 minutes!”
As the article goes on to say, I’ve never made caramelized onions in less than 45 minutes but it is also a background task freeing you up to prepare other parts of the meal.