As promised in my last post for Caramelized Onions, here is the slightly fancier, but still easy recipe for Onion Marmalade or Marmelade d'oignons – basically a very similar recipe with a few tweaks and refinements. You could actually take a finished batch of Caramelized Onions, and add the other flavourings and ingredients with a little further cooking, but I think you do get a better result if you start from scratch as here.
To the English speaking reader, more used to Seville Oranges, or other citrus fruits, in their marmalades, the whole idea of one made from onions may seem at once peculiar and somewhat exotic. But onion marmalade, although having sweetness, is a savoury preserve, and ideal with charcuterie, cold meats and cheeses, rather than the citrus version intended for your breakfast toast.
This recipe is loosely adapted from one by the late, great Keith Floyd.
Onion Marmalade – Ingredients
2lb/1kg onions, peeled and finely sliced
4oz/125g caster/confectioners sugar
Half pint/10 fluid oz/290ml Tarragon Vinegar – if you do not have Tarragon Vinegar, use a good White Wine or Cider Vinegar, and add a tablespoon of fresh finely-chopped tarragon as given in the method below.
2 bayleaves, lightly scrunched up in the palm of your hand before use
A couple of good grinds of freshly milled black pepper
A good pinch of salt
2 tablespoons tomato puree
A good pinch of cayenne pepper, or one fresh cayenne (or similar) chilli, diced very finely
In reserve: a little olive oil, for use only if things start sticking
Onion Marmalade – Method
In a large pot, initially over a medium to hot flame, begin cooking down the sliced onion, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low once the onions begin to melt and start to give up some juice – use the smallest possible amount of olive oil only if they keep sticking and begin to go too brown; ideally they will stew and caramelize in their own juices without the need for oil. Once the majority of the onions have become translucent, add the rest of the ingredients, cover loosely and continue to cook gently, stirring from time to time.
After an hour or so, taste, and add a little more seasoning and sugar if necessary. This is also the time to add the chopped fresh tarragon if you have used plain vinegar. Continue to cook until you have a result that is marmalade-like – if it is seeming to take forever, remove the cover and raise the heat a little, but watch like a hawk and stir frequently: burned = bitter.
If you have had to use oil, tip or drain it off before use. If there is more Onion Marmalade than you can use within the next few days, store in sterilized, firmly-stoppered jars as for any pickling or preserve.