I recently came across the concept of onion marmalade and I was immediately intrigued. Images of sweet and chunky preserved caramelized onions were dancing through my head and I could not resist. I am rather taken with caramelized onions, except that because of how long they take to properly caramelize I do not make them as often as I might like but the idea of sweet balsamic caramelized onions was all the push that I needed. This recipe is pretty simple and you just need to caramelize the onions, add some balsamic vinegar along with sugar, thyme salt and pepper and you are done.
When I first started caramelizing onions it took me about 3 hours to do it properly but now I am down to about an hour. I start by cooking the onions at medium heat until they are tender and then I reduce the heat a bit, add water, cover and cook until they are golden brown stirring every once in a while. Given that in caramelizing the onions you are trying to remove their moisture, adding water may seem a bit counter intuitive but it increases the total surface area of the onions that is being expose to the heat allowing them to cook faster. Normally only the small amount of surface area that is directly in contact with the pan is exposed to the heat but if you add water, the water will heat up to the same temperature as the bottom of the pan and it will get into every nook and cranny of the onions exposing them to the heat. Once you get to the add water, cover and cook phase it is pretty hands off so you can go on and do other things as long as you remember to come back and stir every one in a while so that hour is not as bad as it may seem.
The onion marmalade, or balsamic caramelized onions, turned out to be just as good as they promised to be! The tangy and fruity balsamic vinegar went really well with the sweet caramelized onions and the touch of thyme added a great flavour and definitely planted the marmalade more in the savoury category than the sweet for me. Now that I have my onion marmalade I can’t wait to use it in something.
Onion Marmalade (or Balsamic Caramelized Onions)
Sweet caramelized onions with the tangy hit of balsamic vinegar that is tempered by a touch of sugar.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the onions and saute until the onions are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to just a bit below medium, add the water, cover and cook until the onions turn a deep golden brown, about 50 minutes. You will need to stir every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes and every 5 minutes for the remaining time. (Add a bit more water if it starts to get to dry.)
- Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, salt and pepper, deglaze the pan and cook until most of the moisture is gone.