The Power of the Onion – And I don’t mean Odor
Onions; oh, the sheer beauty of them. Now, before you get all crazy on me and say that they give you bad breath and gas, please remember that they give you so much more. Their versatility spans from the savory to the sweet. With layers upon layers of translucent rings, they are a super hero of flavor. They come in all sizes and stamina. And as if that weren't enough, they are a powerful anti-inflammatory with the hallmark flavonoid antioxidant, quercetin. What the heck is that? I'm not exactly sure but it sounded interesting and important. Seriously though, they are really good for you. Don't take my word, and to avoid getting all scientific technical on you, check out this link for more health info.
As a supporting team player, adding onions to a dish can really boost up the flavor. I add them to so many of my dishes, but I also feel that they can be the star, too. Here is one of my favorite ways of serving onions. Jamming up the onions to make them sweet. (I bolded that line because you will probably read it again and again with future onion ideas, as they are like children, there really are no favorites, I love them all the same.)
Onions are made up of almost 90% water with 4% sugar and 2% fiber. We are going to take full advantage of that 4% sugar and help it along to make jam. Of course, we'll need a few other items to coax them along, but not much more. Plus it hardly takes any work to make these onions delicious.
3-4 onions*, thinly sliced (approx. 4-5 c)
2 cups or about 1/2 bottle red wine
1/2 c red wine vinegar
3/4 c honey
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T olive oil
* You can use yellow onions or red, and even mix the two, as I did this time around.
Thinly slice the onions and sauté them in a large pan in oil with salt/pepper for about 5 minutes until they sweat.
Once they are slightly soften, add the wine. (I usually make onion jam when I have a leftover bottle of red bottle hanging around. For two reasons; one, you always want to use a wine that you would drink and two, this is a great way to use a wine before it might have to go down the drain.) Cook over low heat until the onions cook down and absorb the wine. Since these are cooking over a low flame, it will take some time; about 20 minutes or so.
Once the wine is almost completely absorbed and the onions are saturated with wine, add the vinegar and let cook for 5-8 minutes. Next add the honey, bringing it to a rolling boil for a few minutes, then turn down the flame to low and let it all get nice and cozy together.
I warn you now, to get it jammy you will need to let this cook down for quite some time, approximately 45-50 minutes. Good thing is, you don’t have to stand over it. Just stir every now and then. At the point when there is a small amount of liquid left bring it back up to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. The onions will get soft and the liquid turns thicker and more jam-like.
Let cool and store in a glass jar or air tight container. These will last for a couple of months.
I love serving them as jam in a sweet little bowl. Maybe one I’ve picked up at a garage sale or specialty store and adding it as the star to pair with cheese. The earthy, robust yet sweet flavor of the jam makes it a perfect complement to cheese.
Need some more nifty uses:
- a sweet topping for grilled/roasted chicken or pork
- swap out caramelized onions with onion jam to top some sliders with cheese.
- try it in salad such as baby arugula. It's the right amount of sweet to balance that peppery green.
- Hey, what about potatoes, purple kale and onions, topped with more onions - jam.
Alright, go ahead and test it on everything until you find something that it doesn’t work well with. (And then let me know.) Some suggestions on serving this. Use cold or at room temp when pairing with cheese. Warm it up slightly when using it with warm food.
Enjoy the power of onions. I promise these won’t give you bad breath or drive away friends. In fact, I would wager to say that you will actually make a few.