social spark Aisling Beatha: Caramelised Onion Relish


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Caramelised Onion Relish

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I had a lot of onions this week.  I mean a LOT.  We have a fortnightly veg box delivery, and it seems we had not used onions for a while.  Add to that the week in between the last two boxes, I forgot to check the veggies before shopping and I ended up buying even more.

The time had come to do something with all those onions.  Hubby used two of them in the lamb curry we had yesterday but that still left an awful lot of them.  That's when I had a brain wave. Onion Relish!

So, this morning, I set to work.

If you want to make onion relish you will need:

6 large onions (there are 8 in the picture because these aren't so big.)
3 cups brown sugar (you can mix the sugars to your preference and what you have available)
3 cups vinegar (your preference and again you can mix)
2 tbsp oil

Those are your base mixture.  You will, then also need:

2 Bay Leaves
a good portion of freshly ground black pepper
and your choice of other spices

I chose to add:
2 tsp garlic from a jar
1 tsp ginger from a jar
2 heaped tsp garam masala

Peel and chop all the onions.  You can make them as chunky or as fine as you like and you can chop or slice, if you prefer.  I chose to keep mine fairly chunky.

In a stainless steel pan heat the oil over a medium heat.  I used extra virgin rape seed oil (canola?) from a local farm.

Cook the onions until softened.

Add the vinegar.  I used what was left of the cider vinegar we picked up on holiday last year right from the cider farm, with all the white wine vinegar I had and then topped it up with the distilled malt vinegar.

Next add the sugar.  I used mainly the soft dark brown sugar but added a little of my secret weapon, the molasses sugar.  This is the sugar that makes my gingerbread recipe even more awesome and amazing, but I have discovered in other recipes that too much of it can be a bad thing, so I kept it to about 1/5 of the total sugar here.

Finally add your bay leaves, black pepper and any other spices.  I honestly could have upped the amounts of all three of the flavours I used here as none of them were discernible in the finished relish.  Cumin, thyme, cloves, sultanas, redcurrant jelly, mustard, tomato puree and apple all work well.

Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  I must have had this on a lower heat today as even at 2 hours it came out quite wet, and could have done with longer.  You can thicken it slightly with a tbsp of cornflour but I'm not sure how this would affect the length of time you could keep it.

While the relish is cooking prepare your jars.  I soaked mine to remove the labels, then washed them again to finish the label removal and clean them up.

Sterilise your jars in your preferred method.  I simmered them in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Make sure you sterilise the lids as well.  Remove the jars from the water and place on a heatproof surface.  Leave the lids in the water while you fill the jars.

If you have a jar funnel the next part will be so much less messy.  Using a ladle, fill the jars to below the top. Remove the lids from the water, using a magnetic lid lifter if you have one and screw them onto the jars.  The jars and lids will be hot, so use tea towels or pot holders.  I have a lid holder, so held the jars in a tea towel with one hand and screwed on the lids with that.

Like this the relish will keep for 6 months.  If you want to double that keeping time you need to process the jars in boiling water.

Put the jars into a pan of boiling water that comes up over the top of all the jars, bring back to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Mine probably had a bit longer as I lost track of time.  And I didn't get any photos of that part of the process, sorry.

As long as you don't open the jars they will now keep for up to 12 months.  Once open, keep in the fridge.

You can see it is a bit wet.  Most people prefer a thicker relish but it is good for mopping up with a bit of bread when you are finished, this way, mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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  1. Yum yum this looks absolutely delicious, might have to just try this, thank you x.

  2. I am inviting you to come and be part of my blog hop:

  3. looks delicious! thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!


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