Thursday, February 18, 2010

MrMartha's Awesome Savory Onion Marmalade

There is nothing quite like that deep rich onion flavor that is especially evident in certain foods....think classic French Onion Soup, or a long cooked pot roast smothered in slowly braised flavorful onions.

You can get that wonderful flavor anytime, if you do a little advance work, and keep a jar or two of MrMartha's Onion Marmalade at the ready in your refrigerator.

Quantities of sliced or diced onions are cooked very slowly, with gradual additions of just a few carefully chosen ingredients to deepen and bloom their full flavor....vermouth, sugar, salt, and balsamic vinegar, are all that are needed to end up with a final result that is exceptional in taste, stores well, and can be used in literally dozens of ways to make a quick meal, snack, or appetizer taste like you have spent hours on it!

The process is simple, but it does take some time, and cannot be rushed. It does not require constant monitoring, but it will need regular attention. Its a perfect project to do silmultaneously with other extended kitchen activities, or when have to stick around for a couple hours waiting for a delivery, or serviceman.

The recipe itself is more about technique than a specific recipe.....quantities can be adjusted to your taste, and ingredients can be added or substituted depending on your preferences. MrMartha will give you the basic technique, which you can then change at will.

Read More -- for the many ways to use this flavorful and versatile condiment, as well as the recipe with step by step 'How-To' photos.

Once you have the completed marmalade stored in the refrigerator you can use it in so many wonderful ways --

In cooking: Add a spoonful to simmering soups for depth of flavor. Top a Pot Roast, Brisket, or other braised meat dish with some of the onions before cooking, and then serve more of the marmalade warmed on the side. Serve on top of, or as an accompaniment to, steak, chops, chicken, or slices of Meat Loaf. Add a little of the marmalade to cooked vegetables...especially good with Brussels Sprouts. Incorporate some of the onions into a quiche filling, frittata, or other baked egg dish.

For Appetizers or snacks: Warm slightly and spoon over Brie Cheese. Use as a component or topping in Bruscetta. Chop a quantity and add to softened cream cheese for a wonderful oniony spread, or stir into sour cream for the most amazing onion dip you will ever experience.

Bottom Line....if you think it will add something to just about anything you are cooking or probably will! Don't be afraid to experiment! The marmalade will keep perfectly in the fridge for a couple months or longer (if it lasts that long!) -- just date the top of the jar, and after several weeks watch for any evidence of mold or off odor.

Note -- that it is just as easy to make a double batch, and have two pans going on the stovetop at once...saves steps and time, and you will have lots on hand!

MrMartha's Onion Marmalade

6-8 Medium to Large Onions, variety of your choice
2 Tablespoons cooking or olive oil, plus 1 Tablespoon of butter
3 Tablespoons White Vermouth
1/4 to 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
Large Pinch of White Sugar
Salt to taste
Currant Jelly or Plain Pectin (optional)

Peel the onions, and make sure to peel off any additional outer layers below the peel that seem overly thin or papery.
Slice the onions into rings, or chop the onions -- your preference, MrMartha prefers a combination of both.

Melt the butter with the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the prepared onions and stir and toss carefully to coat with the oil. The pan should be more or less full with onions.

Cook the onions slowly, till they soften and start to become transparent...the timing on this will vary depending on your onion variety, pan, and stove....but will likely take 20-30 minutes, or longer. Stir the onions occasionally but regularly during this period.
The onions should NOT be allowed to brown, so continue to lower the heat as necessary.

Add the vermouth and continue to slowly saute the onions until the liquid has absorbed and evaporated.

Add the brown sugar and continue to slowly saute and regularly stir the onions for another 10-15 minutes, until the start to take on a lovely browned tone.

Add the Balsamic vinegar and continue to cook until mostly incorporated and absorbed. The onions should start to take on a lovely, almost creamy, texture, but should still be holding their shape -- you don't want to end up with mush.

To finish, turn up the heat slightly, and add a large pinch of white sugar. Stir more frequently until the onions carmelize to a slightly darker tone, but are still soft and moist. If you prefer a glossier texture in the finished marmalade, stir in a couple of spoons of currant jelly, or plan liquid pectin, right at the end of cooking.

Taste the final product, and add salt to taste if needed. Place into clean glass jars, and store covered in the refrigerator.
This also makes a wonderful hostess gift if placed into a smaller jam jar, and presented with a tag that includes some use and storage suggestions.