Apologies for the quiet here, and for the lack of a market post this weekend. I’ve just returned from a Bank Holiday weekend (that’s British for “long weekend”) in Wales, visiting Andrew’s parents. As usual, their corner of Britain was the picture of pastoral bliss; we went to the seaside, took in a country fair (complete with show jumping and a sheep shearing contest), took a steam train to the summit of Mount Snowdon and saw a waterfall so pretty you’d swear faeries lived there. In true British fashion, the weather ranged from “so cold I think my fingers are going to fall off” to “maybe I’ll hang out on the patio and top up my tan”.
Of course, in between all this country fun there was country food as well. We ate Welsh leeks, a cobbler based on this one from Smitten Kitchen, and plenty of snacks while out and about. There was homegrown fare, too; Andrew’s Mum has a huge and impressive garden, and she tasked us with harvesting the last of this summer’s onions. Of course, we weren’t allowed to go home without taking several of them with us, which is where this recipe comes in.
I’m not much of a preserver, but I’ve dabbled before. I’ve made simple strawberry jam, and my own ketchup earlier this year. Onion jam is something I’ve been wanting to add to that list for a while, so when faced with a pound of garden-fresh red and yellow onions, I knew just what to do.
Based on a Rachel Allen recipe, this jam is very sweet, yet savoury as well. She calls for red onions only, but I think a mix gives a more interesting flavour, topped up with lots of brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and red wine. I’ve already been enjoying it with strong cheese flavours, and for the meat-eaters among you, I bet it would be good with a roast, too. The best thing? All the sugar and alcohol means this jam will last for months and months, long enough to tide me over until our next country adventure.
- Onion Jam
- adapted from Home Cooking by Rachel Allen
- makes about 500g/1 1/2 cups
- 25g butter
600g red and yellow onions, peeled and sliced
100g dark brown sugar
sea salt, to taste
100ml balsamic vinegar
200ml red wine
- 1. Melt the butter in a large nonstick saucepan and add the onions, sugar and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 30-35 minutes over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft but not too browned.
2. Add the vinegar and wine and stir well. Turn up the heat a little and cook for another 30-35 minutes, until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. When the jam is no longer hot but still warm, transfer to a sterilised jar (rinse it well in boiling water) with an airtight seal. Keep in the fridge for up to six months.