Making Worcestershire sauce is as complicated as trying to pronounce it.

Though there are imitators and substitutes, traditional Worcestershire, first marketed in 1830s England, contains vinegar, molasses, anchovies, tamarind extract, soy sauce, onions, garlic, lemons, peppers, and spices like clove.

The salty, complex sweet-sour taste of Worcestershire is usually used to boost the flavor of other ingredients. It is used in recipes for chili and Sloppy Joes, added to Bloody Marys, and used as a marinade ingredient for stir-fry proteins.

(And the name? WOOS-ter-sher is the original pronunciation.)

Foreign flavors: Named for its origins in Worcester, England, Worcestershire is the savory result of the British Empire's culinary expansion. Accounts have the recipe being brought to England from India by a colonial official, but that's not certain.

But Worcestershire surely adds an elusive depth to recipes like this Real French Onion Dip from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, whose uses repeated browning and deglazing of onions to create an intense onion flavor in the dip.


>Real French Onion Dip

2 teaspoons sugar

3 large yellow onions, finely diced (about 1 quart)

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon finely sliced chives or scallions

Heat sugar in a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat until completely melted and light brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add onions and stir with wooden spoon to coat onions in sugar. Add butter, baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds black pepper. Toss to combine. Cook, shaking pan occasionally until onions release all their liquid and brown coating builds up on bottom of pan, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons water and shake pan while scraping with wooden spoon to deglaze brown bits from bottom of pan. Continue cooking, shaking occasionally until coating begins to build up again, 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat deglazing and cooking steps three more times until all water is used up and onions are deep brown. Transfer to medium mixing bowl and allow to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Add sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Parmesan and Worcestershire and whisk to combine. For smoother texture, run through blender or food processor. Chill in a sealed container for at least 1 hour and up to 5 days (flavor will improve with time). Spoon into a bowl, sprinkle with chives, and serve with chips.

(Recipe by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt,