With This Ring

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 I’ve liked rings for as long as I can remember. I used to go into my mom’s dresser drawer and admire the star sapphire ring she bought on her honeymoon. (My sister wears it now.) In high school I wore something like three rings on each hand and was always on the lookout for more. Now that I’m old and grown up I’ve significantly reduced the amount of bling on my hands. On my left hand I wear my wedding set (left), valuable not only because of the diamonds, but because my husband selected it just for me. On my right hand I wear a simple sterling silver ring that I got in high school and the ring you see on the right in the picture, which was my mom’s. (She, too, loved rings. She gave this one to me the last time I visited her.) I have memories of college and karaoke and “Burning Ring of Fire”. And then there’s the three-ring circus that is my household… 

Remember that large stack of Mom’s cooking magazines I found at my dad’s, the ones I brought back with me to go through in June? Well, I started going through them in August. And in the middle of the stack was this beautiful issue of Cook’s Country, with a nice photo of a bowl of cherries on the front. (Have I ever mentioned my fetish for cherries? I blame the marching band trips to the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan.) This is gonna be a good one, I thought to myself. And there, in the delightful spread of articles and recipes was a ring of great worth — golden even. That’s right: beer-battered onion rings.

I don’t make onion rings often — it’s a lot of work and a lot of oil and they might turn out. But this was one of those things. It sounded so good and I hadn’t encountered a good recipe for beer-battered onion rings… and since I had made it my soft goal to find at least one recipe from each of the magazines in the stack to try (and a softer goal of blogging about each one)… and since I was grilling brats outside anyway and could use the side burner and not have the house smell like the back kitchen of a fast-food joint… Well, let’s just say that I thought it was worth the effort.

The results? I still won’t make them often because they are quite a bit of work. And since my husband professed his fondness for a crunchier onion ring (he said these were good; he just likes more crunchy stuff on the outside versus the fried batter), I might need to pursue that a bit more instead. I might have been able to fry them a little longer to accomplish more of his taste, but I didn’t want to burn them, either. But I liked that the batter stayed on the onion. I liked the flavor. I really liked that they went with my beer bratwurst washed down with… a glass of wine. Just kidding. 🙂

Beer-Battered Onion Rings

From Cook’s Country, June/July 2009

Why this recipe works: Tasters preferred the gentle flavor of sweet onions to any other kind for our Beer-Battered Onion Rings. After testing many different batters, we settled on a beer, flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, and cornstarch batter. The beer gave the coating flavor, and the carbonation also provided lift to the batter. Baking powder yielded a coating that was thick and substantial, yet light, while cornstarch added crunch to the coating. Before frying our Beer-Battered Onion Rings, we soaked the onions in a mixture of beer, malt vinegar, and salt to soften them and build flavor.

Serves 4 to 6

In step 1, do not soak the onion rounds longer than 2 hours or they will turn soft and become too saturated to crisp properly. Cider vinegar can be used in place of malt vinegar. Use a candy thermometer to make sure the oil gets to 350 degrees. Ordinary yellow onions will produce acceptable rings here.

  • 2 sweet onions, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 cups beer
  • 2 teaspoons malt vinegar (see note)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  1.  SOAK ONIONS Place onion rounds, 2 cups beer, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in zipper-lock bag; refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. MAKE BATTER Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. While oil is heating, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Slowly whisk in ¾ cup beer until just combined (some lumps will remain). Whisk in remaining beer as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until batter falls from whisk in steady stream and leaves faint trail across surface of batter.
  3. FRY RINGS Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Remove onions from refrigerator and pour off liquid. Pat onion rounds dry with paper towels and separate into rings. Transfer one-third portion of rings to batter. One at a time, carefully transfer battered rings to oil. Fry until rings are golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through frying. Drain rings on paper towel-lined baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to oven. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining onion rings and batter. Serve.

 

 

 

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