Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chef Tess Savory Sweet Onion-shallot Balsamic Jam with black pepper and fennel

Organic onions were on sale. I'm an idiot. There I said it. After loading up my cart because I was not about to pass up a smokin' deal, I paid for them. However, when I got home I realized I had twelve pounds of onions staring at me. They were right next to the two pounds of shallots that I had purchased a few days earlier...and my gosh...I realized I better make something cool. To my utter joy and happiness, my dear friend Lisa gave me a culinary epiphany last night when she mentioned some onion balsamic jam she was having on brie. Baaazing! The evil think tank master-minds in my coco starting coming up with all kinds of ideas. Lisa willingly agreed to letting me come to her house to help me cut onions.
This amazing jam was born.
It has a little fennel.
It also has vibrant fruity undertones from this amazing Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar
You will need:
6 lbs of onions (your choice--we used red and white)
1 lb peeled shallots
1 cup balsamic vinegar Traditional-Style Balsamic Vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 cup honey
2T sea salt
1T fennel seed
2T cracked fresh pepper
4 bay leaves
2 boxes of Sure Jell

12 sterile half pint jars.
Chop the onions fine. Yes...I had a friend to help. Lisa is a good sport. So...we shared sappy stories and talked about how amazing women are. We laughed, we cried...it was better than...a sappy chick-flick for tears.

20 cups of onions later...we are gooood. Ready to re-apply mascara, stop talking about boys...and cook. Lisa's husband came in half way through our onion chopping adventure and was man enough to bring me a box of Kleenex.
Lemon olive oil adds a brightness. I highly recommend picking some up.
In a 2 gallon large pot heat the oil over medium heat about 3 minutes. Add the onions.

Put all the ding-a-dang happy seasonings of joy in the pot with the onions. Give it a stir and then...talk about boys some more. It takes a good 20 minutes of sweating the onions before you add the vinegars.

Now. once the onions are translucent looking...add the vinegar and bay leaves. Simmer...
30 minutes later it looked like this.
One hour later...it was perfect. Ready to add the pectin. Mix it in and return the whole mixture to a boil.
In order to ensure proper quality, we made the ultimate sacrifice...and ate half a wheel of brie.
It wasn't entirely unhealthy. It was on crackers. Okay...we may need to do a lot more exercise tonight than normal. I've walked my 5 miles today...but may need to add a couple more, just to be sure.
This made 14 cups of jam. Since this isn't a canning recipe I have tried before, it is in fact one we came up with today, I didn't have my Ph paper strips to test the acidity. Home Canning Safety 101 is a good place to start if you have never home canned before. This time, to be safe, we just sealed the jars and put them in the fridge. They will be good up to 2 weeks. So. There it is. I didn't process them. This batch will have to be used up quickly. I'll keep everyone posted on the actual canning time or if it can even be done safely with a water bath canner.
There you go. Sweet Onion-shallot Balsamic Jam.

4 comments:

clan of the cave hair said...

my garage smells like onions! lol
but it is SO worth it. And the fennel...pure genius. Its really the difference between delicious, and out of this world!

Salsa Mama said...

Ya know, if you can't eat all that jam fast enough... I can come right over to get a jar! :)

aswesow said...

That just doesn't sound like anything I'd eat. Good ideal to make that at a friends place!

wa ma said...

I'll be waiting to hear about the waterbath details...I do a lot of canning and this looks so yummy!