We planted a LOT of onions last summer, hoping for a plentiful supply for several preserving projects. And they did well in spite of the late (ahem…June instead of April) planting. We were seduced by a luxuriously warm fall though, and neglected getting them out of the ground until early November. Our usual first frost is early to mid October, so we were really lucky to have been able to postpone it that long, but we were lulled by nice weather and good company – friends came in October planning to stay for a week and ended up staying for a month, a welcome addition to our normal daily diet of isolation. Anyway, after they went home we got around to digging the onions. We’d had a couple of light frosts by then and the tops had actually begun to regrow. We threw the whole mess into the garden cart and pushed it into a building, planning to start prepping them in a day or two. So of course it froze hard that night. The next day I took enough for a batch of this marmalade and let them thaw. Worked fine, so I thought no big deal, I can still use them. Wrong. Maybe if I’d gotten around to it that same day or the next it would have worked out, but of course that didn’t happen. The intermittent thawing and freezing soon freed me from the task. The whole mess ended up in the compost.
Start with five pounds of yellow, white, or red onions (or any combination you like). A food processor does a fantastic, speedy job of slicing them all. My #28 Le Creuset dutch oven holds 7.25 quarts and is just the right size to start them cooking. Then transfer it all to a slow cooker to finish the job. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in glass jelly jars. It lasts for weeks in the fridge.
Great as an accompaniment to meat, topping for cheese, spread on a grilled cheese sandwich, even a little stirred into scrambled eggs is good. But my favorite use is as a stand-in for sauce on pizza. Add some feta or chèvre, briny black olives, sweet peppers and halved cherry tomatoes, maybe even a little spinach or arugula – every bite is a burst of flavor.
– Joan, 20 March 2017
Slow Cooker Balsamic Onion Marmalade
- 5 pounds onions, any kind or combination
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
Peel and thinly slice the onions – a food processor or mandoline makes this easy. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven and add onions, pepper and salt. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, till onions are reduced by half. This will take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour, depending on the cooking temperature. They will release a fair amount of liquid, especially if you use sweet onions like Walla Walla or Vidalia.
Transfer the contents of the pot, including all the liquid, to a slow cooker. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Set temperature to high for the first couple of hours, then reduce to low and cook for about 10 hours. Leave the cover off throughout the cooking.
Ladle into glass jars and refrigerate or freeze.