The mere thought of an onion jam may sound crazy to some, but it’s a real thing, and it’s delicious. If you’ve ever tasted fully caramelized onions before, you know they’re incredibly sweet and flavorful. The thing is, when you drive enough moisture out of the onions to get them to caramelize, the onions turn into a thick paste when they cool. This is fine if the onions are going into a soup or sauce, but it makes them hard to use otherwise.
By adding some sugar and spices and making a jam, there’s no need to drive out all the moisture, so you end up with a versatile condiment that can be used like ketchup or chutney. The best part is that it’s super simple to make. Just slice some onions and throw them in a pan with the other ingredients and cook with a lid until the onions are tender. Then the jam gets reduced with the lid off until it reaches your desired consistency.
So what do you do with onion jam? Well, aside from the obvious things like spreading it on toast, it’s fantastic in a grilled cheese sandwich or a hamburger. It’s also a great way to add a sweet and colorful accent to bite-size canapés like these gruyere crostinis. I also like serving a side of this jam along with roast chicken, and it’s fantastic atop a brined pork chop.
Red Onion Jam
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 24.7 ounces (700 grams) red onions, sliced thin (3 large onions)
- 2.1 ounces (60 grams) sugar (~1/3 cup)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Put the oil, onions, sugar, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and salt in a sauté pan, making sure the bay leaf and cinnamon are tucked under the onions, and cover with a lid.
- Place the pan over medium low heat and cook covered until the onions are very soft (20-30 minutes).
- Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium-high.
- Reduce the jam, stirring constantly until you have a thick glossy jam.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.