Monday 22 April 2013

Caramelized Red Onion Preserve

Whether you call this chutney, relish, jam, or preserve, it is a power house of flavour. It hits you with deep sweet and savoury notes with just enough sourness to compliment it. It is made up of few ingredients and is so far one of the easiest recipes ever on the blog, yet it has so many uses! This preserve is fantastic with cheese and crackers, on grilled meat, as the base of a marinade for chicken, on burgers and sandwiches, on crostinis, on latkes/fritters, and countless other options. Since it is best kept in a jar it also makes a great homemade gift for any special occasion or a contribution to a barbecue. You have nothing to lose!

Depending on what you find visually appealing, it may look a little bit like someone's nightmare, but it more than makes up for it in taste and smell. It's sweet, tangy, robust and sticky. The perfect spread to showcase the sweetness onions produce when they have been caramelized. No more wasting time! Let's turn this out. 


5 red onions, quartered then thinly sliced
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of ground ginger
1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of canola oil (or any neutral, frying oil)
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper, to taste

In a large pot, add the butter and oil over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted and begins to sing, add the onion slices and the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper, but be generous with the salt as it will help to draw out moisture and break down the onions. Then you want to cook this, stirring every now and then, for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, your onions will look something like this:

Add the vinegars, brown sugar and ginger. Stir to combine and bring the heat up to medium. 

Let it simmer until all of the liquid evaporates. I adapted this from a recipe that said to let it simmer for 30 minutes but mine took closer to 45 or 50. I'm going to say about 45 minutes but just keep an eye on it. If you have a gas stove it probably won't take as long. You want to let it reduce until it looks like this:

The finished product will be dark, concentrated and jammy. That's the consistency you want right there. Remove it from the heat and let it cool. This recipe will yield about 3 cups of preserve. Pour into a sterilized jar (or jars, as I've done here). Once it's at room temperature, place in the fridge. It will keep for ages and tastes even better over time.

This is so handy to have whenever you need it. It has such a complex and versatile flavour that you might surprise yourself with uses you will find for it. It takes a little while to put together but that's really the only downside I can think of. You could easily make this vegan by omitting the butter and using 2 tbsp of oil instead of 1. You could also add a sliced chili to the onion and that will add a nice hum of heat to the flavour profile.

Below, I've used it as a spread for a sandwich of light rye bread, deli-style turkey breast, camembert and greens. It was amazing.  

This chutney really made the sandwich worth relishing. I could barely preserve my satisfaction. You can really spread joy with this recipe. How could anyone resist jamming that in their mouth? LOL! Okay, enough puns.

Definitely give this recipe a shot. Change it any way you like and let me know how it worked out. I want to hear about some other uses you could come up with with this spread. Get creative! 

That's it for now, folks. See you again soon,


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