Monday, November 25, 2013

Onion Jam

This is another reverse engineered recipe. Last Christmas, I received a jar of onion jam from an internet stranger via a Secret Santa thing that I do every year. After I finally summoned enough courage to actually try the jam, I was delighted. I spent the next three months moderating my intake of that delicious treat. Using a couple of internet recipes, and adding a little of my own flair (aka bourbon and honey), I decided to make my own version. It didn't turn out exactly like the original, but I still think it's pretty good.

According to the internet, onion jam is great served on a burger, but I like to keep it simple and serve it with a bit of cheese on bread or a cracker.

Thank you, internet stranger, whoever you may be. I will be forever indebted to you for opening my eyes to this magnificence.

Onion Jam Recipe
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 red onions, large thinly sliced
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (not the aged sweet stuff)
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup bourbon
1/3 cup honey
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed, leaves chopped
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet (I used a 5 quart deep sauté pan) until it just barely begins smoking, add onions and cook until soft and translucent on medium high heat.

Once softened, lower heat to medium or medium low, and continue to cook onions until brown and caramelized. This will take forever, but it is worth the wait.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low stirring occasionally until the jam reaches a thick, jam-like consistency.

Yields about 3 cups (or half-pints as they Ball people inexplicably refer to their 8 oz. jars)

If desired, follow standard processing procedures to preserve your jars of jam or just pop it in the refrigerator. Unprocessed, it will last about 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Spiced Tomato Jelly with the flavors of chutney

I have been toying with making jam for the last few months.  I played with various types of fruit jams (many of which I flavored with bourbon) before making a delicious onion jam.  This experience with making a savory jam made me remember a delicious spiced tomato jelly that I had at the American Culinary Federation Northeast Conference ages ago.  I never received a copy of that recipe, so I decided to approximate something similar but equally delicious.  This is the result.  I think it would be great as a ketchup replacement or even just served on crackers with a touch of cheddar.

48 fluid ounces of tomato juice
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons Garam Masala spice mix
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ cup vinegar
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
5 tablespoons low-sugar pectin
Zest of ½ of a navel orange

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Increase the temperature to a rolling boil.  Add the pectin and boil for at least 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add the orange zest.

Makes approximately six cups of jelly or 6 one-cup jars of jelly.

If desired, follow standard processing procedures to preserve your jars of jelly or just pop it in the refrigerator.  Unprocessed, it will last about 6 weeks in the refrigerator.