I confess, Fellow FoodBeest. I don’t like raw onions. I put them aside when they come on top of my burger at diners or burger joints. I don’t like their harshness.
But cooked onion – now that’s another story. Something amazing happens to onions when they get cooked. You can sauté them quickly over high heat and get one result or you can cook them gently, slowly, lovingly for hours, allowing the sugars in them to caramelize and wind up with a sweet, succulent treat.
Onion jam is a condiment that celebrates those caramelized onions. The onions cook slowly, until they are a rich, dark mahogany color. Then you hit them with wine and honey and vinegar and get a whole new taste sensation.
The result is onion jam, an awesome condiment that was a staple of French Bistro cusisine in the 1950s. It keeps for several weeks in the fridge or indefinitely frozen. The onion jam I made yesterday is going to grace our upcoming family Passover sedar, a perfect foil for the brisket we will serve.
I just hope there are enough left over for us. But if not, it’s easy enough to make more.
What You Need to Make Onion Jam
¼ C olive (or other vegetable) oil
4 large red or other sweet onions halved, peeled, and cut into thin (1/4-inch) slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 C dry red wine
¼ C honey
¼ C red wine or balsamic vinegar
¼ C brown sugar
How To Make Onion Jam
In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil lightly. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper, to taste. They will start out piled high above the pan, but don’t worry. They will shrink in size significantly as they cook.
Cook over very low heat for two hours, turning occasionally. Then add the red wine and continue to cook the onions for about 15 minutes until the wine reduces almost completely. Leave on low heat while you prepare the gastrique, which is nothing more than a simple French sweet-and-sour sauce.
In a separate small pan, heat the honey and brown sugar until it begins to bubble and froth. Cook until it turns a light caramel color, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer for a few minutes on low heat. Pour the gastrique over the onions and continue cooking them over low heat until all of the juice is absorbed and the onions are a jam-like consistency, 10 to 15 minutes.
Now comes the fun part. How and where to use it?
… to accompany roast beef or roast chicken
… on turkey sandwiches
… in omelets
… on bagels
… in risottos
… on pizza
… on burgers (beef, turkey, veggie)
… in gravy
… over sausages
… with mashed potatoes
… with goat cheese on crostini
How would you use onion jam, Fellow FoodBees? Share your ideas in the comment section below.