For the Onions:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 lbs. white or yellow onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/3 cup whole-grain mustard (Creole or whole-grain Dijon)
• Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
• Add the brown sugar and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
• Add the vinegar, wine, and salt and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until reduced by three-quarters and syrup-like in consistency.
• Fold in the mustard.
For the Purses:
4 sheets phyllo dough
1 cup Earth Balance margarine, melted, plus more for brushing the purses
1/3 cup chopped fresh thyme
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
2 1/4 cups prepared onions
Pieces of twine for tying the purses
• Preheat the oven to 375°F.
• Lay out 1 sheet of phyllo dough. Brush with the margarine and sprinkle with a small amount of the chopped thyme and cracked pepper.
• Repeat until all the dough, margarine, thyme, and pepper have been used, creating 4 layers.
• Cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise again, creating four long, even strips. Cut all four strips in half through the width of the strips. Cut each half widthwise twice more to create a total of 24 squares.
• Place approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the onions in the center of each square. Draw up the edges to create a purse shape, gently twisting the top to create “frills.” Tie with the twine.
• Brush each purse lightly with the melted margarine.
• Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until well browned.
Variation: Tie the purses with leeks instead of twine. Cut the green part of leeks into thin 4-inch strips. Blanch until soft, dunking the leeks in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Use in place of the twine.
Makes 24 purses