Savory Onion Jam
This Savory Onion Jam is the perfect condiment for sandwiches, pizzas and on your meat and cheese platter.
I’ve mentioned my stint working at Williams-Sonoma last year. While it was fun and the number my kitchen accouterments increased and improved, it actually had a negative impact on our household bottom line. I don’t believe I ever brought home a paycheck that exceeded what I had spent for the 2 weeks that my paycheck covered.
But that’s neither here nor there.
Working there opened my eyes (and tastebuds) to many of their food items that I had not previously been aware of. Their Pumpkin Braising Sauce (sadly not available anymore! ?) was really delicious…please bring it back Mr. Williams and Mr. Sonoma!
My son, a hot cocoa connoisseur, had me stock up on their cocoa before I ‘retired’.
Equally outstanding is their Savory Red Onion Jam for Panini. I brought home a jar and it quickly became a family favorite. We ate it with our meat and cheese trays and put it on sandwiches. The jar was emptied before I had the opportunity to try it on a pizza, but doesn’t that sound good?
The empty Williams-Sonoma jar nudged me to try my hand at making a similar onion jam. I’ve had a recipe noodling around in my head for a better part of the past year and decided that this week was the week to give it a whirl.
I’m sure it had nothing to do with me wandering aimlessly through our home given the sudden quiet and loneliness since my oldest started her college career this past weekend…?..but I digress. In any event, this was the week to make this Savory Onion Jam.
I had been researching the making and canning of onion jam for some time. Onions, being a low acid food, are not safe for water bath canning without adding an appropriate amount of acid in the form of vinegar, lemon juice, wine or the like. I have been canning for years, but I’m not a home economist and I am not comfortable formulating my own recipes for canning low acid foods.
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To that end, I’ve been searching and testing various recipes looking for something close to what my taste buds remembered. I found this recipe from Ellie Topp’s book, The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round. I kept the ratio of onions to acid constant, but used an assortment of alliums (shallots, red and yellow onions) and added 1 tablespoon of thyme to get the flavor I was looking for.
In general, the process of caramelizing onions over a steady medium heat is a form of alchemy in my mind. Michael Pollan’s quote from his bookCooked : A Natural History of Transformation is quite apropos:
“The transformation which occurs in the cauldron is quintessential and wondrous, subtle and delicate. The mouth cannot express it in words.”
The flavor is pretty close to what we remembered and we’re already figuring out how we’re going to eat the 4 half-pints that I canned! And while I did preserve these by water bath canning, you could skip that and just keep it in your fridge. I’ve seen recipes that state that similar onion jams can be refrigerated for 2 weeks.
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- 3 lbs of onions (I used a mix of red, yellow and shallots), diced
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 cups dry red wine (I used Malbec)
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- Put diced onions and brown sugar in a heavy pot over medium heat.
- Cook uncovered for 45-60 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown and caramelize and any liquid has evaporated
- Add wine, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until liquid has reduced and thickened.
- You could refrigerate the jam at this point, it should keep for about 2 weeks.
- If you chose to can it, spoon your jam into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/2" headspace.
- Process for 10 minutes in your hot water bath.
- Take pot lid off, let sit for 5 minutes then place on wire rack to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
- Please consult the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving or the National Center for Home Food Preservation at http://nchfp.uga.edu/ for detailed instruction on canning. This recipe presumes knowledge of the necessary steps for water bath canning.
- We love it with a shmear of goat cheese on a baguette. It’s a great and quick appetizer!
- This jam will be an essential component of our steak, cheese and onion jam sandwiches for our picnic dinner tomorrow night.
- Perfect as an accompaniment to your chicken, beef or pork.
- The Smitten Kitchen has a Fresh Ricotta and Red Onion Marmalade Pizza recipe that sounds spectacular. I’m thinking this is on my menu for the upcoming week and I will sub my onion jam.
- And how about Onion Jam, Brie and Apple Pizza Pockets? Um…yes!
- What about putting on a grilled cheese panini? Maybe with some arugula?
- I can even see making a steak salad and topping the salad with the jam.
- Pin it for the next time you need a recipe for a quick and easy Savory Onion Jam:
Truly, the possibilities are endless. How would you eat your savory onion jam?
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