I can caramelize onions, garlic, and ginger over 30 minutes, stir frying.
But this requires me to stand in front of the stove for 30 minutes. Instead, I prefer to spend 90 minutes, adding a bit of water and a touch of oil, then letting them simmer, with the onions taking half the time alone before the others are added. I can then do something else during that time.
Does this process have a name? Does it still qualify as caramelization? Would a self-respecting chef do this once a week with larger quantities and freeze small containers with the mixture for use throughout the week?
I say the following only half in jest. Since Tetsujin slapped the entirely derogatory "fairgrounds" term on boiled-down onions, I'm wondering whether I can elevate this method ever so slightly by giving it another term, and a French one at that.
Isn't boiling down onions exactly how you make French onion soup?
Correction to self: as pointed out by Preston in the comments, French onion soup is caramelized onions plus (beef, usually) stock. The description above is my past-years attempt at reducing the time I spend preparing F.O.S., and it stuck in my mind as a correct method.
Well, now I know why I complained about onion soup tasting with overwhelming onions. It's because I multiplied the quantity of onions in an attempt to avoid the caramelization step.