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Caramelised Onion Relish

September 22, 2010

My kids decided that we should  make Andrew some caramelised onion relish to go with the double thick big steak we buy him every year for his Father’s Day present. “Good idea” I said without realising that the “we” they referred to was a bit of a royal we a.k.a “me”! They jumped on the trampoline and I think their sole contribution in the end was to bring in some bay leaves from the garden for me….and triumphantly carry in Andrew’s dinner to him. Reflected glory and implied effort. Ah well. They did make him gorgeous cards, write him a poem (Sam) and shower him with love and kisses all day. What more could a father want?!

Caramelised Onion Relish

(Quantities are approximate…use your tastebuds to guide you. All this huge amount here ended up with one small jar and one small bowl to eat on the night)

5 large brown onions sliced
2 cups decent red wine (I used a nice Shiraz we had open)
1/2 cup balsamic condiment (we had this bottle of sweetish balsamic syrup which we had been given and don’t really use – hence its use in here. Feel free to substitute balsamic or other vinegar and a tablespoon of brown sugar)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons juniper berries – lightly crushed
1 teaspoon hot paprika
5 bay leaves
1 large stick of cinnamon
6 cloves
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 heaped teaspoon dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
Rice bran or similar oil for frying

Heat a wide pan (more surface area means less time standing at that stove) and add a generous quantity of oil. Fry the onions, stirring frequently. Add a little salt to help prevent them from burning, but be aware that the salt also tends to turn the onions to mush. Add the bay leaves, juniper berries, cinnamon and cloves while frying the onions. When they are nearly golden brown, add the garlic, ginger, mustard seeds and paprika. After frying for a further five to ten minutes (before the onions start to burn) slowly start adding in some red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those caramelised bits off it. Now add the vinegars and dijon mustard. Taste as you go along to get the right balance between sweet, sour and salty. The onions ended up really sweet so I didn’t add in any sugar or raisins as I had originally planned. Use wine to thin it out to the desired consistency. Bottle into a sterilised jar while still hot.

Perfect with a nice juicy steak!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2010 4:42 PM

    Sounds delicious! Lucky Andrew! 🙂

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      September 27, 2010 11:57 AM

      It is his favourite present – a big steak, cooked perfectly with a nice bottle of wine…and now a nice onion relish too! Tara first suggested this as a present for him when she was a toddler and we have repeated it every year since then. Not big on the surprise factor, but enjoyed each time (unlike most other things which he classes as “dust collectors” and throws out rather quickly)

  2. September 22, 2010 9:09 PM

    I love the inclusion of juniper berries, I would never have thought of that! Yumm…

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      September 27, 2010 11:55 AM

      The juniper berries worked really well in this actually. Definitely one I would do again.

  3. September 23, 2010 12:09 AM

    Yum! I really try and have a jar of onion jam in the fridge but I always gobble it up before long! 🙂

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      September 27, 2010 11:54 AM

      I hear you on that one…! 🙂

  4. September 26, 2010 6:30 AM

    I love onion relish/marmalade with a passion, the juniper berries sound like a good idea as the Intolerant Chef says above! But it takes so many onions to make such a little quantity, you are so right! Last time I made something similar I think I got three jars from a whole vat of onions. I stir it into dishes that need a little extra something sometimes too 🙂

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      September 27, 2010 11:54 AM

      Good idea to add a spoonful to boost the flavour of other dishes – thanks! The only problem is that I might find myself being a tad stingy with it – seeing how it too so many onions and so much time to get such a tiny quantity! My mum will sometimes give me a container of onions that she has fried to golden crispyness that I store in my fridge and use everytime I need browned onions but don’t have the time or patience to make them. It is a truly wonderful gift and I am always so sad when the container runs out. I sure she must spend hours and hours on all that slicing and frying. A labour of love!

  5. September 27, 2010 7:15 AM

    Yum! I’ve been tinkering with caramelised onion lately too but not like this. That sounds so good. Its the perfect accompaniment too…just about everything. Except maybe icecream.

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      September 27, 2010 11:51 AM

      So true….perfect with everthing except icecream

  6. September 27, 2010 5:13 PM

    Yum! makes me want to trundle out the BBQ and start cooking – what a great way to have a steak.

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