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Cooking With Shallots

Updated on March 20, 2013
Freshly Chopped Shallots
Freshly Chopped Shallots | Source

The Miracle Middle Man

If you have not heard of - or tried - a shallot, I have some news for you! Shallots are a wonderful vegetable which is related to both onions and garlic, has a similar taste, but doesn't leave that horrible garlic/onion breath afterwards! They have a taste that is somewhat in the middle of onions and garlic, but are a completely different vegetable. This is important to remember because a lot of people have the misinformation that they are a hybrid of both, just because they have the characteristics of both plants, and a similar taste.

Either way, the gentics and horticulture of shallots don't really mean anything for the end user - they are just plain delicous and useful!

As you can see, shallots have the same cloving properties as garlic.
As you can see, shallots have the same cloving properties as garlic. | Source

When Do I Use A Shallot?

This is a great question. A lot of people feel that the shallot is an aloof vegetable because it is not as easy to find and is a little more expensive than onions and chefs usually prefer it to onions. However, I would not actually replace all onions (and garlic) with it.

Though shallots taste like onions and garlic, they are milder and sometimes sweeter. Because people are very much used to the harshness of onions they can be surprised at how GOOD something can taste with the more subtle shallot taste.

Onions and garlic DO have purposes in cooking, especially with almost anything where ground beef is involved - they cut through and make themselves known nicely. However, in dishes with other meats such as chicken (or vegetable dishes) the more subtle flavor can go a long way.

Remember:

  • Shallots are not onions or garlic, so watch them until you are used to them. They can overcook easily while sauteed.
  • Shallots carmalize like onions.
  • Shallots do well in more subtle things like cream, white wine, and butter.
  • Don't always substitute shallots - onions and garlic have their place in the culinary world!

Green Bean Casserole Topped with Fried Shallots
Green Bean Casserole Topped with Fried Shallots | Source

A Great Garnish

One thing about onions, garlic, and shallots is that you can add them to anything for an extra kick of flavor. Its handy to remember that they work like onions and garlic as well when you cook anything with them or want to use them as a garnish.

There are many ways to use shallots as garnish. For instance you can sweat and sautee them down with mushrooms and top a hamburger with them, shave them into a salad instead of onions, or even deep fry them to add crispiness to anything the way you would with onions, but where you want a more subtle flavoring. These may seem like little things but as the old saying goes "its the little things that count."

Shallots in a balsamic vinegar marinade.
Shallots in a balsamic vinegar marinade. | Source

Normandy Pork with Apples, Shallots, and Cider [Crock Pot]

Normandy Pork is a great dish to know, especially for those long days at work. You can just start it at home in the morning, and have something delicious to look forward to when you get home.

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 45 min
  • Cook time: 6 hours
  • Ready in: 6 hours 45 min
  • Yields: 8-10 servings
5 stars from 1 rating of Normandy Pork
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: Per 1 Pound
Calories 850
Calories from Fat540
% Daily Value *
Fat 60 g92%
Saturated fat 20 g100%
Unsaturated fat 30 g
Carbohydrates 5 g2%
Sugar 5 g
Fiber 5 g20%
Protein 76 g152%
Cholesterol 218 mg73%
Sodium 277 mg12%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Ingredients

  • 3 Lbs Pork Shoulder, Trimmed (No Fat)
  • 1 1/2 Lbs Shallots
  • 4-6 Apples, Peeled and cored
  • 1/2 Pint Apple Cider
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 6oz Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream
  • 2oz Butter
  • 1oz Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Basalmic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Pint Chicken Stock, Thickened
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp Tarragon
  • 2 Tbsp Brandy
  • Pinch Salt and Pepper, To Taste

To Prepare:

  1. Prep work: Cube your pork into 4 inch cubes. Peel shallots. Halve/core/peel apples. Turn crock pot on high.
  2. Mix together everything other than the butter, oil, pork, basalmic and shallots and put them in the crock pot. We need to brown the pork and shallots before we add them in.
  3. Add half the butter and half the olive oil into the pan. We need to caramelize the shallots, so get that pan hot (but not so hot the butter/oil smokes) and start browning them in batches without fully cook them - because once you are done, put them all in the pan, add the basalmic, and mix it all together so everything is mixed and coated before putting it all straight into the cooker.
  4. Get that pan hot again - its time for the pork. We just want them all caramelized as well, so make sure everything gets to touch the bottom of the pan and get that delicious brown color. Make sure they are seared on all sides before tossing them into the crock pot.
  5. Now is the easy part. Mix it all together and leave for 6-10 hours. When you feel it is done, pour in that brandy and give it all a good mix again.
  6. The best part? Serve to very happy people, or a very happy person. Honestly, go with the last one and keep it all for yourself. Enjoy!
Roasted Potatoes with Shallots and Rosemary
Roasted Potatoes with Shallots and Rosemary | Source

Roasted New Potatoes With Shallots

This is yet another easy recipe to follow, and just as delicious.

10 Minute Prep, 30 Minute Bake.

2 lb. baby new potatoes, scrubbed and halved.
2 large shallots, minced
1/8 c olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 tsp crushed rosemary
1/3 tsp crushed thyme

Preheat oven to 450. Mix everything by tossing until coated evenly. Pour into shallow baking dish and mix about half way through the baking time.

Shallots and You

I hope that you have learned something about shallots - either picking up a few recipes or even just coming to understand what they are. If you find out that you like shallots, please share with others. This under used yet delicious food will go down in price as it becomes more popular and more farmers start to produce them.

Have fun with shallots!

Do you like shallots?

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    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Daniel,

      Nicely written. I love shallots subtle flavor although I am very much an onion and garlic fan, love them both and use much more frequently than shallots. Good ideas here and your pork recipe sounds tasty! Voted up, useful and shared.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, and Interesting. Thanks for this introduction to shallots. I'm going to watch for an opportunity to give them a try.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I don't normally cook with shallots, but I think I will try them with my roasted potatoes. It seems like the two tastes together would tastes great.

    • Danieljohnston profile image
      Author

      Daniel Johnston 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thank you all!

      I actually had not been cooking with shallots for some reason, but after writing this I think I have used around 30 shallots.

      I even decided to use it for a friend's kid in a recipe (picky eater) and she liked it. Might be something good to think about too!

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