Archive for Canning and Preserving

Confit Onions in the Slow Cooker

I am not a fan of raw onions. Served to me on a salad or a burger, I will pick them off. When you cook the onions, however, it’s a whole different ballgame.

Onions have lots of naturally-occurring sugars, so when you cook them down at a low heat, the most magical thing happens to them. They caramelize, and take on this gorgeous light-brown colour. They become sweet and savoury all at the same time.

confit onions

Yeah, there were a few tears this day…

I make these regularly, and keep them in my fridge. They come out and get added to grilled cheeses (my favourite), any kind of wrap or burrito, burgers, or as a garnish to a piece of baguette topped with a chunk of brie.

You can even can these and give them out as gifts.

I love doing mine in the slow cooker. It just is so easy. Slice ’em up in the food processor, add them along with a few other ingredients, and let it go. 8 hours later, voila! Perfect caramelized onions.

A quick word of warning: it’s kind of shocking how much these cook down. A slow cooker full of onions will net you a cup or two of the good stuff, but it really is a condiment, so you’ll likely only use a tablespoon or two at a time.

Slow-Cooker Confit Onions

Ingredients

  • approximately 2 lbs onions (really, any kind, although purple and Walla Walla are sweeter)
  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1-2 tbsp port wine
  • 1 tbsp sweetener–maple syrup, brown sugar or molasses
  • 1 tsp thyme, or a couple of fresh spigs

Method: 

  1. Prep the onions by halving and peeling them, then thinly slicing them into half-moon rounds. I did the slicing in the food processor, but you could also do it on a mandolin, or by hand. You will have a large pile of onions.
  2. Dump the onions, along with the rest of the ingredients, into your slow cooker, and turn it up on high. Stir everything together well.
  3. Allow to cook for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally. They onions are done when they achieve a nice caramel colour. Remove the sprig of thyme, if using. If the onions are really watery, you can take the lid off of the slow cooker and cook them for another hour or so until the water evaporates and the onions thicken. Alternatively, you can finish them in a saucepan on top of the stove, boiling them, uncovered, until you get the right consistency.
  4. Store in a jar in the fridge. My 2 lbs of onions boiled down to make enough to fill a 500-ml mason jar.

Also, check out my friend Melissa’s version of this recipe.

 

 

Roasted Golden Plum and Sage Jam with Honey

Welcome to Okanagan week here at CBL! As you know, I recently returned from a whirlwind tour of the Okanagan, and I want to share some of those destinations with you this week, as well as recipes inspired by the places I visited. Today is inspired by breakfast, Wednesday’s will be inspired by lunch, and Friday’s will be inspired by dinner. 

We start in Pentiction, at the Lakeside Resort. Not only is it a hotel, it houses a private marina on Okanagan Lake, a conference centre, and three restaurants (I didn’t stay there, but Marc Smith did–you can read his review here). We got to have breakfast here, at the Hooded Mergancer Bar and Grill.

Chef Chris' Herb Garden--just steps from the kitchen!

Chef Chris’ Herb Garden–just steps from the kitchen!

The hotel is built right out over the water, so you can sit outside and watch the waves and boats and water skiers while you enjoy your meal.

Growing conditions in the Okanagan are so rich, that more restaurants than not have their own herb gardens. The Pentiction Lake Resort takes it one step further, however. They have their own farm to supply fresh produce to the hotel’s restaurants. They grow a huge variety of their own fruits and vegetables, and post what’s come in from the farm to be integrated into the menu that day on a blackboard.

IMG_0163

They also have an apiary and make their own honey. I had some of this liquid gold with my fruit, yogurt and granola for breakfast, and I loved it so much, I came home with some.

Breakfast of champions! Plus, the view...

Breakfast of champions! Plus, the view…

I halved and stoned some golden plums, and then drizzled them with the honey. I then laid some sage overtop (an homage to Chef Chris’ herb garden right outside the restaurant), and then roasted them in the oven until they were soft and a bit caramelized. The honey and the roasting helps to bring out the sweetness of the plums in these preserves, and the sage adds a subtle earthiness to the final product.

This jam would be great simply spread on toast, or served with a soft cheese and a baguette.

roasted golden plum and sage jam with honey

Roasted Golden Plum and Sage Jam with Honey

(adapted from Local Kitchen)

Ingredients: 

  • 12-15 golden plums
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh sage
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

roasted golden plums with sage and honeyMethod: 

  1. Wash the plums well, and halve them. Remove the pits.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the plum halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Drizzle honey all over them, using up about 2 tbsps of it. Save the rest for later in the recipe. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Place the sage sprigs on top of the plums, and then roast in a 375 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the edges are browning, and they look caramelized.
  3. Remove from the oven, and remove and discard the sage.
  4. Allow to cool slightly, then place the plums and the reserved juices in a blender, and pulse just once or twice. You want to break the plums up, but you don’t want to puree them, you want to leave some chunks of fruit in the jam.
  5. Add the plums back into a large pot, and add the rest of the honey, the water and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil for about 10 minutes, or until the temperature registers 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  6. The jam is, at this point, done. If you want to preserve it, do so according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Otherwise, ladle into jars or plastic containers, and keep in the fridge until you can use it.

 

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