This past year, there was an explosion of enthusiasm over the "bacon jam" produced by Skillet, a West Coast gourmet food cart company, because the Internet loves bacon. (Also because Skillet isn't stupid, and put jars of the stuff in the hands of any number of Internet bacon lovers. Indeed, the jam has its very own Twitter account!) Bacon, you may have noticed, in addition to being a classic beloved foodstuff, is a Thing, has been a Thing, goes on being a Thing, and shows no signs of stopping being a Thing.
Onions aren't a Thing, but onion jam is very good. It's also vastly cheaper to produce eight ounces of it, or twenty-four ounces for that matter, than it is to order a $10 jar of bacon jam. And it's (at least potentially) kosher! How can you resist?
I've written about it before, but it never hurts to mention it again. A jar of onion jam, or onion confit, if you prefer, is an uncommonly useful thing to have in the refrigerator. Use in or on scrambled eggs, spread on toast, slip into a sandwich or burger, include in a savory tart, stir into your soup, mix with soft cheese, toss with pasta, add to simple fried rice, whatever your little heart desires.
This is the recipe I've settled on over the years, cobbled together from what other people do, what I like in the final product, and what I find least fussy to put together in the kitchen.
ONION JAMAbout a kilo (2.2 lbs) of white or red onions, about five large ones, not a super-sweet variety like Vidalia
1 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 T sugar
1.5 t salt, or to taste
Plenty of freshly ground pepper
1/4 c. sherry
A splash of some dark-colored vinegar--the cheap "balsamic" stuff or Chinese black vinegar are both good
1. Either slice the onions very thin or cut into fine dice. Take a fairly large, heavy pan with a lid and heat the butter and olive oil together until the butter is melted and foamy. Add the onion, sugar, salt, and pepper and stir well.
2. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. The onions will give off loads of liquid. I often will extend this part of the process to an hour and a half.
3. Remove the lid and add the sherry and vinegar. Cook uncovered for half an hour more, stirring regularly, or until the liquid is mostly reduced but not gone altogether; it will thicken more as it cools.
4. Decant into jars. Makes about 3 cups of jam.