Savory Red Onion Jam recipe is the perfect condiment for sandwiches, pizzas and as an addition to your meat and cheese platter. This Balsamic Onion Jam also features red wine and subtle, earthy thyme. Canning this onion jam makes great food gifts as the addition of vinegar and wine raises the acidity and makes this a perfect recipe for preserving onions.
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 was their Savory Red Onion Jam for Panini, which sadly is no longer sold. 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. That jar of red onion jam was emptied before I had the opportunity to try it on a pizza, but doesn’t that sound good?
The empty Williams-Sonoma jar of Red Onion Jam nudged me to try my hand at preserving an onion jam. I’ve had a balsamic onion jam 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 and to get busy canning onion jam.
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 try my very own Savory Red Onion Jam recipe.
I had been researching the making and canning of savory onion jam for some time.
As it relates to preserving onions in general, as they are a low-acid food they 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 for preserving onions, 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). Adding a tablespoon of thyme gave me the flavor I was looking for in this balsamic onion jam.
In general, the process of caramelizing onions over steady medium heat is a form of alchemy in my mind. Michael Pollan’s quote from his book Cooked: 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 of this balsamic jam is pretty close to what we remembered. In fact, we are 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 just keep it in your fridge. I’ve seen recipes that state that similar onion jams can be refrigerated for 2 weeks.
- 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.
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So now that you have this delectable, savory red onion jam spread what should you do with it?
What to do with onion jam?
- We love this onion jam 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 this onion jam.
Pin it for the next time you need a quick and easy Savory Red Onion Jam recipe, with instructions for canning the onion jam:
Truly, the possibilities are endless. How would you eat your savory onion jam?
If you like this Balsamic Onion Jam, you might also like these other savory jam and jelly recipes. Smoky, Spiced Tomato Jam has a depth to it from melting the tomatoes slowly in dark brown sugar, a little tinge of smoke from the paprika and an earthy bite from the bits of toasted cumin. Jalapeno Pepper Wine Jelly is ideal for appetizers, cheese trays, bacon candy or sandwiches. This hot pepper jelly recipe is perfect for those new to canning and includes a video tutorial.
For these, as well as other sweet and savory jam and jelly recipes, pop over to my page of Canning and Preserving Recipes. Most of these recipes are suitable for beginner canners.
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