shallots in red wine sauce

glam rock a weeknight dinner 
with rubies from the onion family
what to do with chicken? it's the ho-hum question i asked myself the 1st night of the work week. so i mined my own bins, shelves, and refrigerator and dug up these polished, paper-skinned onions . . . thinking: "oh, these show promise." then i bulldozed through a WS cookbook to root out a recipe for glistening whole shallot bulbs in a dripping red wine sauce.
in this recipe i saw a prized chicken adornment that would jack-up monday's dinner to saturday night status. it did. 
it deserved the china.
the linen napkins.
the dave-brubeck-tickled-ivories.
the stimulating conversation
we should have worn fancy clothes, fancy jewelry . . . maybe a hat. jim did pull out my chair, and made a toast, "here's to saturday night dining on monday night".
separate the shallot cloves into largest, large, medium, and small . . . you'll want to add them to the pot in that order so they cook evenly in the reduction.

this recipe is from the williams-sonoma vegetable cookbook, but i substituted some of the butter with olive oil and added a bay leaf. serve it with grilled steak, salmon, or chicken.
ingredients (4 servings)
• olive oil
• 2 tbls. butter
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 lb. shallots, bottoms cut off, and peeled
• 2 cups dry red wine
• 1 cup vegetable stock
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 tsp. sugar
• 1 tsp. tarragon or thyme
• salt & pepper
directions
1. coat the bottom of a med. sauce pan with olive oil, and the butter. heat on med-low until it foams. add the bay leaf.
2. add the largest shallots first and stir to coat. cook for a few minutes until the outer layer starts to soften. add the next largest shallots and repeat, and so on and so on.
3. once all of the shallots have been added, sprinkle them with tarragon or thyme, salt and pepper. cook for another 5 min. or so until the smallest shallots are starting to soften.
4. add the wine, the stock, the vinegar, the sugar, and raise the heat to bring the pot to a boil.
5. reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the shallots are almost translucent, 10-15 min. stir occasionally . . . the liquid should be thick and syrupy, but not too dark or dry.
6. taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.

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