Winter is nearly upon us, although in the last few days it has not seemed the case, the final day of October being blessed by a beautifully mild sunshine. On a quiet weekend, I decided I wanted to do some cooking without particular reason so I baked sourdough bread, I made marshmallows to sell for charity, I attempted a poached pear in pink peppercorn inspired by Veritas and I made a sweet, intense pickled onion marmalade which will be great when the cold actually arrives and a slab of cheese and a glass of red wine will be the perfect Sunday evening treat. I recently started preserving fruit and vegetables after receiving as a present a very helpful book a few months ago. There are lots of inspiring recipes and ideas, so here is a customised one for using up some good quality red onions. I used pink peppercorns which I am really loving at the moment, and some aromatic black cardamoms pods (although these might not be to everyone’s taste).
Instead of the regular balsamic vinegar I used a figs’ version I picked up in Emilia Romagna during our recent trip to Bologna, which is denser and sweeter than the usual vinegar and lifts the flavours beautifully.
I am really pleased with the result, and will be using this jam on burgers for sure, and of course, with mature cheeses such as Grana Padano or Stilton.
Red Onion Marmalade
2 tbs olive oil
1kg red onions
Freshly cracked black pepper
150 ml red wine
3 tbs balsamic vinegar & fig condiment
2 tbs red wine vinegar
7 tbs brown sugar
10/15 pink peppercorns
3 black cardamom pods
A few drops of Worcester sauce
Peel and slice the onions; in a large preserving pan (or non sticky, stainless steel pan) heat the olive oil and then add the onions, the salt, pepper, peppercorns and cardamom pods. Let the onions cook and steam with the lid on, until they become lighter in colour, translucent and soft. This should take around 30 minutes. Once soft enough, add the rest of the ingredients and let them cook for another 30-40 minutes, or longer if there is still too much liquid in the pan. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and remove the cardamom pods, before spooning into sterilised glass jars, taking care to avoid any air bubbles. Cover with grease proof paper and preserving lids and store in the fridge for up to three months.
Recipe adapted from The Preserving Book by Lynda Brown