I have been sitting on this recipe for months, waiting for the perfect opportunity to share it with you. I realized last week that I needed to get on it before the year was over. I know the minute January 1st arrives, everyone will be looking for healthy stuff and no one will want to hear about fried foods, at least for a few weeks until it's Super Bowl time :)
If I were to make a list of my favorite fried foods, onion rings would be somewhere near the top. I like french fries, but they'd lose to onion rings in a head-to-head battle every single time. I'm an onion lover in general (especially when they're caramelized), but throw a little batter on the onions and fry them until golden and crisp and I'm in heaven. And dare I say, this recipe produced the best onion rings I've had in my life! Not just my favorite homemade recipe, but the best I've had anywhere.
Homemade onion rings are a tricky proposition - there's just so much that can go wrong when you make them. The coating is too heavy or too thin, or worse, just falls off the onions when you try to eat them. I was ecstatic not to run into any of those issues with this recipe. The onion rings were crispy with a thick, but not heavy, coating and had so much flavor thanks to the beer batter. I made the mistake of frying these up without anyone around to help me eat them, and definitely gave myself a stomach ache because I could.not.stop.
I've held off on making them again, but only to avoid the same fate. These beer-battered onion rings will definitely be making an appearance at our annual Super Bowl party though, and I seriously cannot wait!
Beer-Battered Onion Rings
from Cook's Country, June/July 2009
2 sweet onions, peeled
3 cups beer, divided
2 teaspoons malt or cider vinegar
peanut or canola oil, for frying
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
Cut the onions into 1/2-inch-thick rounds - you don't have to separate the slices into layers, it's fine to leave them just as they are when you slice them. Add the onion rounds, 2 cups of the beer, the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to a large resealable plastic bag. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours (don't let them go beyond 2 hours, they'll soften too much).
Add enough oil to a large Dutch oven to come to a depth of about 2 inches. Set over medium-high heat and heat to 350 F on a candy thermometer. Preheat oven to 200 F.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in 3/4 cup of the remaining beer just until incorporated (the batter may be lumpy). Add the remaining beer, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the consistency is right - when you lift the whisk, the batter should fall in a steady stream and briefly leave a trail across the surface and then disappear.
Remove the onions from the refrigerator and drain the liquid from the bag. Separate the onion rounds into individual rings. Pat the onions dry with paper towels. Add about a third of the rings to the batter and turn to coat. Transfer the rings to the oil one at a time, letting excess batter drip off before dropping them in. Fry for about 5 minutes, or until the onion rings are golden brown and crisp, flipping once halfway through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt, then move the baking sheet to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining onions - adjust the heat under the pan as necessary to keep the oil temperature at 350 F.