Friday, December 15, 2017

Caramelized Red Onion Jam

I first tried Onion Jam (aka onion marmalade, chutney) during a trip to Wales this past June. Whilst (my inner Brit talking) traveling with a group of coworkers and friends en route to Ffald-y-Brenin, I picked up a jar at a convenience store. I tried the onion jam a couple days later for breakfast with some Serrano ham and cheese on bread and became instantly addicted. I loved this jam so much that I bought one from a Sainsbury's near our hotel in London to bring back home to Cali, but it was confiscated at Heathrow airport. Whaaa? I guess I must have fit the profile of a terrorist, especially with that jar of unidentifiable reddish and potentially explosive mash in my carry-on bag. Just sayin.' But since I wasn't about to go cold turkey on my new addiction, I decided to concoct my own version based on the tried and true stuff in the UK, taking a cue from the ingredients listed on that fateful jar I purchased to take home. A perfect savory condiment for bread, cheese, meats, or whatever else floats your boat.

Sainsbury's Chutney Caramelized Onion 


4 red onions, thinly sliced
4 tbsp. olive oil
6 tbsp. golden brown sugar
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup port
1 cup white wine

1. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan and add the sliced onion. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes; reduce heat to medium low and cook another 15 minutes or until the onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally. 

2. Add the brown sugar, red chili flakes, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, minced garlic, grated ginger, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, port and white wine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer (uncovered) for 20-30 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Taste and reseason with salt and pepper as needed.

3. Turn off heat and let the mixture cool. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. You can use the jam right away, but it tastes better after a few days when the flavors have melded. Store the mixture in a container in the frig until ready to use (will keep at least 1-2 weeks refrigerated). You can also can them in mason jars, which will extend their shelf life to about 3 months. 

Onion jam is a great condiment for pretty much anything, especially with grilled meats (steak, chicken or pork), cheese plates, burgers, sausage, charcuterie, etc., etc. - let your imagination run wild!

Sliced onions, chopped garlic, sprigs of thyme and bay leaf.

Heat 4 tbsp. olive oil to a pot and add the onion; season with a little salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook another 15-20 minutes or until the onions are caramelized.

Red wine vinegar, red wine, and port.

Add the remaining ingredients.

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook another 20-30 minutes, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and reduced to a syrup-like consistency.

Place the mason jars and lids in a pot of boiling water 5-10 minutes to sterilize.

Ladle the onion jam into the jars. 

Screw on the lids and let the jars cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

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