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A ‘Savory Delight’

Dec 16, 2021

Here in South Dakota, prime rib is popular for Christmas dinner. Why wouldn’t it be? South Dakota reportedly has the most cattle per person in the United States. Agriculture is the bread and butter for so many across the region and beef is absolutely what’s for dinner.

What do you serve with that delicious, slow roasted hunk of beef? Personally, I have always leaned into twice baked potatoes, buttery rolls and a fresh, crisp salad. This year, I am adding Roasted Onions to the menu.

Roasted Onions are a savory delight that complement not just prime rib, but could accompany turkey, holiday ham, brisket and just about anything from the grill. The other night, I served this tangy, but rich dish alongside some grilled lamb brats and creamy mashed potatoes. The sliced onions are marinated with red wine vinegar and brown sugar before being baked. I am always amazed at how the slow cooking process releases that natural sweetness of onions and creates such a rich deliciousness.

This recipe is adaptable. The kind and size of onion you choose will affect its cooking time. Of course, larger onions will need more time, but a sweeter onion also cooks slightly faster. The amount of marinade works well for three to four large onions but could easily bathe more smaller onions as portion appropriate sides. Fresh rosemary and red pepper flakes add an earthiness to the dish that aside from a little planning ahead prep is almost fix-it-and-forget-it easy.

Anyone that is a fan of French onion soup will love these simple and flavorful Roasted Onions on the holiday table.


Savory Roasted Onions pair well with Christmas prime rib.

Roasted Onions


3-4 large yellow, white or red onions (or more smaller onions to fit a 9x13 pan) {I used Vidalia onions.}



1 cup water

1 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pinch red pepper flakes



4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped


Trim root and stem ends from onions. Slice in half horizontally and remove skins from onion halves.

Combine all marinade ingredients in a 9x13 (or similarly sized) pan. Arrange onions in the marinade cut side down.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pull onions from the fridge and allow pan to warm closer to room temp (alternatively, transfer to a different baking dish to avoid possible accidents from temperature shock of cold pan/hot oven).

Flip onions in the marinade for the wider side to be up. Top each onion with a pat of butter and an additional sprinkling of fresh rosemary.

Bake, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover, baste onions with the reduced marinade and continue baking 15-20 minutes until onions are desired tenderness. (Larger onions may require more time but watch that smaller onions don’t scorch.)

Before serving, again spoon the reduced sauce over the cooked onions and garnish with additional red pepper flakes (if desired) and sprigs of fresh rosemary. (Serves 6.)

Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their three dogs ranch near Colome.


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