Happy New Year! It’s the time of year for warm, comfy, savory foods. The type of foods that feel like you’re wrapping your insides in a warm blanket, and giving yourself a nice, long, well-deserved hug.
It’s also the time for gathering with family and friends, and taking the time to mingle, catch up, and eat some finger foods on the fly. So while I love a good sauce, or a long-simmering soup, recipes like this still tend to hit all the right notes for a gathering, while still hitting the spot. You know, so you can enjoy your tastebuds while tantalizing your tastebuds!
- 1 large onion – sliced (julienne)
- 1 large bell pepper – diced
- 25 oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce (or 3 cups of your own homemade sauce)
- 10 oz log of goat cheese (plain or herb-crusted both work, and taste great!)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Parsley – chopped
- Baguette – sliced into rounds and toasted (if you want some crunch)
- Caramelize your sliced onions. Good caramelized onions can take up to an hour to get that deep, sweet and rich flavor. Please take your time on this step. I’ll break it down quickly, but this site gives a great overview of how to caramelize onions.
- Slice the onions
- Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to a medium pan, and heat over medium.
- When the oil is hot, add the onions
- MAKE SURE TO STIR IT FREQUENTLY – the key to good caramelization is to BROWN but NOT BURN
- Salt the onions after 10 minutes
- Add some extra oil, and reduce the heat after about 20 minutes
- STIR! If you have one of those friends or family members who “wants to help” but you know they’re functionally useless in the kitchen, this could be a great role for them.
- Remove the caramelized onions to a bowl, and set them aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Heat a separate pan over medium heat, (or, if you’re taking this a step at a time, use the same pan as you did for the onions) and add a tablespoon of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the diced bell pepper, and season with salt and pepper.
- Saute the bell pepper (stir it around in the pan) until it’s soft. About 4-5 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, and the caramelized onions to the pan, and mix it all together.
- Simmer the mixture for 8-10 minutes, to allow the flavors to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the sauce mixture into a shallow baking dish (like a 9×9 brownie pan) or something of similar size, and sink the log of goat cheese in the center.
- Bake the cheese and sauce in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley (and/or other herbs if you have them).
- Serve in the baking dish (careful, it’s hot!) with rounds of the baguette for dipping.