Sunday, October 20, 2013

Black Onion Jam

Sorry about the changes going on with the layout of my blog. I'm fiddling around with some things, so for now this is what it will look like.

AnyWHO, I want to tell you about this FABULOUS onion jam that I made a couple of weeks ago. I stumbled across it at Gina's blog, Lindsey's Luscious, earlier this year and it really peaked my interest. It originally came from The Fabulous Beekman Brother's, which currently have a show on the cooking channel on Sundays. I used to love watching them when it was just them trying to make a living on a farm (HGTV?), but now they are famous and have their own cooking show.

So, I checked out their jam and the ingredients and snooped a little on the internet to see if anyone was canning it. I saw a few places where people mentioned canning this jam, but no one had actually jumped the gun (I would soon to find out why). It certainly had enough vinegar to be safe to can, so I thought, "Why not?"

I made a trial batch by doubling the original recipe thinking that I would at least get a handful of half-pints. Afterwards, I barely had enough to make 1 whole pint and this gave me a big clue as to why no one had bothered making more. This recipe takes A LOT of onions and it's A LOT of work to make enough worthwhile for canning. I went into a 3-day ordeal to make 6 1/2 pints of this jam and I wouldn't do it again...I'll explain why later.

The trial batch I made was sublime. I cannot explain how delicious this jam is with a good sharp cheddar on a cracker. Some people have been using this jam on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and just the thought of it makes my mouth water. I just got a panini press, so this is definitely happening soon. My husband and I put it on a grilled hamburger with some crumbled Stilton blue cheese; we called it a Black and Blue Burger.

Sooo, if you're gutsy enough, have 3 days to kill, and about $70 to blow, you can make a larger version of this recipe for canning. I ended up using 42 cups of onions, which took over 12 hours to caramelize. Then, I added 13 cups of balsamic vinegar ($$), which took another 6 hours to reduce down, and then added 3 cups of maple syrup ($$), which took more time to reduce down...well, you get the point. This gave me 6 1/2 pints.

On top of that, I don't think the bigger batch came out nearly as good as the small, trial batch (I think the onions overcooked). So, do yourself and your wallet a favor and make a  batch to keep in your refrigerator.  The end result will be tastier and a little of this jam goes a long way.

Black Onion Jam 
Recipe Source: The Fabulous Beekman Brothers
Note: My recipe is doubled from the original
Makes 1 pint

6 cups of sweet onions, roughly chopped
2 T butter
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Melt butter in a medium-sized stockpot over medium heat; add onions and slowly caramelize them till they are golden and sweet. Add balsamic vinegar to onions and reduce down until syrupy (about 1 hour). Add maple syrup, thyme, salt and pepper and cook another hour until thick and jammy. Spoon into a pint jar and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.

Here are some other ways to use the jam:

An appetizer:

  • Slice some thin slices of a baguette and toast until golden brown
  • Top a baguette slice with goat cheese
  • Top with a couple of pear slices
  • Top with a dollop of onion jam (not too much – it’s intense)

  • Use a puff pastry – take 1 sheet and brush with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with your favorite herbs (I use rosemary and thyme)
  • Spread with onion jam
  • Top with chunks of soft goat cheese
  • Top with other sheet of puff pastry 
  • Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with more herbs and coarse salt
  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (until golden brown)

Use with pork, in a stew, on a burger or a sandwich (great with turkey and melted cheese)

A companion to a salad (or an appetizer). Try in an omelet – farm fresh eggs, goat cheese, tomato, spinach and onion jam.

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