Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Vidalia Onion Relish

I've never been a big fan of raw onions, even the sweet variety, but when the Vidalia Sweets hit my local market, visions of caramelized, balsamic-y relish soon fill my head and, before long, my pantry. That's what I did last weekend after succumbing to the allure of a 10-pound box at the store. I'm not sure what it is about seeing those boxed up beauties. Somehow, they call to me a bit more when I can grab a box and plop it into my cart quickly, rather than individually picking through the produce bins.

The box I couldn't resist
Regardless of how they end up in my kitchen, I do look forward to this easy-to-make, oh-so-delicious onion relish each and every year. The smell in the kitchen as they cook down is divine and the flavor the relish adds to sandwiches, burgers and whatever else you can think of is sublime. Try making this yourself. It's a great one for beginners and the flavor profile is outstanding!

Vidalia Onion Relish
(Makes 5 half-pint jars)

5 pounds Vidalia sweet onions (about 10)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups red wine
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Prepare jars and lids.Slice onions very thinly. (I run mine through the food processor with the slicing attachment. It takes no time at all and there's none of that eye-burning unpleasantness.)

Put sliced onions into heavy, non-reactive pot. Add brown sugar and stir to coat.

Cook the onions for about 25 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until they begin to caramelize. (This might take a bit longer if your onions give off a good amount of liquid. You'll need to cook off most of the liquid before they really start to caramelize nicely.)

Add red wine and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Bring mixture to aboil and then maintain medium high heat, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid cooks out.

Add salt and pepper. (Adjust to your taste.)

Ladle relish into jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Clean rims and position lids and bands, tightening to
fingertip tightness.

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes at sea level (25 minutes here in Castle Rock, CO). Turn off heat, remove canner lid and allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing jars to cool overnight. As always, reprocess or refrigerate and promptly use any jars that do not seal properly.

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