I’m in a preserving state of mind at the moment and this weekend decided to make a little treat for the Husband. Since coming to the US we’ve found it quite difficult to get hold of good onion marmalade. We can occasionally buy it in Canada or in the speciality food aisle here in the US, but we’ve yet to find a brand that could replace Tracklements Onion Marmalade in his affections.
(The following recipe is one I first tried at a friend’s house years ago. I photographed the relevant page from her cookbook but unfortunately the pboto doesn’t tell me which cookbook it came from. I’d love to be able to credit it properly, so please let me know if you recognise it.)
Silky, sticky onion marmalade is one of those very British sweet/sour condiments that the French find quite barbaric, but is quite sensationally good. The sweetness of the caramelised onions is enhanced and deepened by the balsamic vinegar and sugar, while the garlic, thyme and wine add unexpected layers of flavour.
It’s best served with foods that are rich, creamy and intensely savoury – the subtle crunch of the onions adds a layer of texture, the vinegar cuts through the richness and the sweetness adds its own counterpoint.
Dollop it onto strong creamy Cheddar as part of a ploughman’s lunch, or serve with a smooth chicken liver mousse, other meats or even foie gras. It is also quite amazing with sausages and mash and fabulous in a hamburger.
The Husband just scoffs his with a spoon, straight from the fridge.
Red Onion Marmalade
Thinly slice the onions.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based deep-sided frying pan or saucepan. C rush the garlic and saute’ the onions , garlic and a little salt very gently for around 20 minutes until soft and translucent. The recipe suggests covering the onions with a circle of greaseproof paper so that moisture is trapped and they don’t brown – this worked very well for me.
Then add the wine, vinegar and sugar and simmer everything gently for around 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. You could also experiment with different vinegars and liquids. Port would be a good substitute for the wine and sherry vinegar would be an interesting replacement for the balsamic. The Husband’s favourite Tracklements brand uses redcurrant juice.
Strip the leaves from thyme and add them to the marmalade, season with pepper and more salt to taste and cook gently for another 5 minutes.
Pack into a sterilised jar and close the lid while it’s still warm. The recipe says this lasts for about a month in the fridge. I pass this on to you as an interesting theory, no more – the Husband inhales this stuff and in our house it lasts a week or two at the very most.