I decided to make-up an onion marmalade recipe without doing any research. Knowing the final result would still have an onion-y flavor, I figured on complementing it with other flavors that would let it be a sweet+savory topping for a nice hearty bread, quickbread, scrambled eggs, biscuit, steamed vegetables, even a plain grain such as white rice and a touch of salt.
- Slice the flower end (paper pointy tip) of nine or more large yellow onions. Peel onions, leaving root end attached.
- Hold root end in an off-hand pinched together fingertip, then slice from the flat end to make onion rings approximately 0.25 inch/0.5 cm thick. Slicing this way cuts across the grain, making juice-release and sugar-absorption easier.
- Fill a five quart/four liter heavy-bottomed pot with the onions, flat and layered on each other. If you have room, you can add the other dry ingredients at this point.
- Add 0.25 cup of water to the pan to keep the bottom onions from scorching during initial heating.
- Turn the pan on very low, just enough to turn the added water to steam, which helps the onions release their juices.
- Cover the pan, keep the heat low, and check infrequently. Use a large spoon to lift and turn the onions until enough juices are released that the onions are covered in juice.
- Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and five cinnamon sticks; you may also add other sweet/savory spices, such as a few cloves, a few star anise, a few pieces of fresh or dried ginger, ten whole allspice berries, and so forth. Add 0.5 teaspoon of salt. Be light on this, the point is not to make it overly spicy, just provide more background support.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the orange part of an orange, leaving all the white pith behind. Cut the peel in to two-inch/four-centimeter long pieces and add to boiling onions.
- Juice four oranges, removing the seeds and large pulp pieces. Add to the boiling onions.
- Add three cups of evaporated cane juice such as turbinado (succanat or similar is OK, be careful not to use brown sugar or similar unless you can deal with the strong molasses flavor via spicing) to the boiling onions. Other sweeteners could be substituted, but may leave a runnier consistency unless a proper caramelization is created in the final juice reduction.
- Cook uncovered for two or more hours, reducing and concentrating the juices. Turn the onions infrequently.
- When the juice is low enough to make the onions at danger of scorching or caramelizing the onion fibers, remove from heat. Put onions in to colander and drain, then add the drained juice back to the pan and continue reducing over medium-low heat.
- Reduce, stirring more closer to the end, until a thick syrup, several minutes after the last wisps of steam have risen. You want it to caramelize slightly (very soft ball stage?), but watch carefully for scorching.
- Add in any remaining juices that have drained from the onions, reducing to a thick syrup.
- Add syrup back to onion mixture, and carefully mix with one or two soup spoons until even consistency.
- Resulting marmalade should be very thick with no apparent wateriness. Put in clean jars and refrigerate. Eat soon!
My first run of this resulted in one and a half quarts of marmalade.
This is a first draft of the recipe, pulled from memory, and done entirely without additional research. I am certain that the recipe needs fixes, and now we have something to work from.
Hope your 2010 is finishing well, and happy new year/2011 to you and yours.