If you love the flavors of caramelized onions and crave french onion soup regularly then you’ll love my short rib french onion skillet.
This is a take on my viral French onion chicken skillet where I topped some juicy chicken thighs with caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. This version, however, uses left over short ribs and has a totally different flavor because of the beef.
I think caramelized onions and beef are a flavor match made in heaven. Honestly, they should have just created french onion soup with beef in because it’s really bomb. You can totally jump into making this recipe with fresh short ribs right out of the dutch oven or you can reheat some short ribs then next day and use this method as well. It’s super versatile–so have it your way. The longest part of this recipe is really the caramelized onions. There are a few short cuts to making caramelized onions cook a little faster but overall it’s still going to take about 30-40 minutes to get the depth of flavor and color you need.
Here are the tips I’ve used to speed up the process:
- While you slice the onions, heat up your skillet and add a little water to cover the surface of the skillet, the amount of water will depend on how wide your skillet is but for an 8 inch skillet, 1/3 cup should be enough
- Once you finish slicing the onions you have warm water in your skillet and this will actually speed up the cooking process of the onions
- Cover the onions with a tight fitting lid once you add them to the pan and wait for the water to evaporate
- Once the water evaporates continue stirring the onions periodically ensuring they aren’t burning and the color is slowly turning brown
- After about 15 minutes you should start to see the onions caramelize
- Keep the heat on a medium low to low heat and stir constantly (the intensity of your heat will depend on if you use a gas or electric stove so be sure to adjust as necessary, you don’t want the pan too hot because the onions will burn instead of caramelize
- Once you have the depth of color you desire season the onions with salt and add a splash of balsamic vingegar–this will really intensify the flavor of the onions and bring out that jaminess
- After about 30-35 minutes turn the heat off and transfer the onions to a bowl and save for later
You can also do the onions the old fashion way by sautéing in some butter and olive oil and waiting for the caramelization to naturally happen, this will take about 30-40 minutes.
Let’s jump into the full recipe for my Short rib french onion skillet
- 2 pre cooked short ribs with bone in
- 1/3 cup of gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 small white onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of butter
- Kosher salt to taste
For Caramelized Onions (cook time 30 minutes)
- In a small cast iron skillet, add olive oil and butter on medium heat
- Once butter is melted, add sliced onions to the skillet and cover with a tight fitting lid
- After about 3 minutes, remove the lid and give onions a stir
- Continue this process for the next 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so
- Onions will begin to brown and become fragrant
- At the end of cooking right when the onions begin to caramelize add kosher salt and balsamic vinegar
- Give a final stir and remove the heat and set aside
To assemble skillet (prep 5 minutes, cook time 5 minutes)
- In a small cast iron skillet, add 2 pieces of short ribs bone side down
- To each short rib, top with a heaping of caramelized onions to taste and add shredded gruyere cheese
- Broil in the oven until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 2-3 minutes (keep your eyes on it)
Cook time is a combination of the time it takes to caramelize the onions and the time it takes to prep the skillet and melt the cheese in the oven. Caramelization of onions takes about 30 minutes. To assemble the skillet and then melt the cheese should be about 10 minutes total.
If you want you can add a little bit of the short rib liquid to the bottom of the skillet to help steam and reheat your short ribs if you're warming them up, just enough to create a little steam and warm the short ribs through.