When I first tried The Grand Viglas Paté, I was intrigued by the new taste and look of the red stuff that came with it. As I had no idea what it was and how it should be eaten, I spooned it on top of the patéed bread. Only later did I find out the dark red, tangy-sweet garnish was an onion marmalade.
When I started searching for a recipe on the Internet, I came across dozens of English, French and Slovak variations on onion marmalade. Finally, I decided to make my own one from food staples I found at home. The recipe I’ve put together uses basic ingredients that are likely to be on hand in each household (not only a Slovak one) at any time.
1¼ kg onion
2 tablespoons salt
500 ml apple vinegar
500 g sugar
10 allspice corns
Wash the jars thoroughly in hot water with a few drops of washing-up liquid added. Let them dry off.
Peel and thinly slice the onions. Put in a large cooking pot and stir in the salt. Leave to stand overnight in a cold, dark place.
The onions will have let out juices by the following day, so add to them the vinegar, the sugar and throw in the allspice. Stir well, place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Adjust the heat and let simmer for about 1½ hour or until the onions are translucent, soft and sticky. They will have reduced in volume, and their colour will have changed as seen in the pictures below:
Use a teaspoon to remove the allspice corns if you prefer. Scoop the onion marmalade into the jars and cover with the lids. Let cool down slowly under a blanket. As they are cooling, you will hear the lids pop. At that point they will pull in slightly, which indicates a good seal. If you want to do an additional test, turn the jars upside down. The lids have sealed well, if there is no leakage of the jar contents.
Store the jars in a cool, dark place. Once opened, refrigerate it and use the jar contents within two weeks.
The amounts stated in the recipe yielded two jars (of different size) of the marmalade. I’m looking forward to trying it plain on my bread, or to pair it with our cheeses. Hopefully my family will also appreciate it with their meat.
If you use red onions and red wine vinegar, you’ll get marmalade of a deep red colour. Mmmh … sounds like another batch, perhaps?