Wednesday, March 14, 2007

One confit short of shaving my head....

SOMEONE HELP! I've gone over into going crazy with the onion-based condiments! Last night at some obscene hour, I got it into my head to make different version of oignons confits. This one comes from my blogging neighbors to the north in Montreal, An Endless Banquet. Michele is my (Canadian) idol when it comes to preserving, and she and her partner, A.J., have been selling their sweet and savory confitures at flea markets and outdoor festivals for, I believe, a few years now. Currently, their oignons confits are even being sold at a vendor called La Depense at the famous and fabulous Jean Talon market.

The first confit from eGullet was rich and beefy with a deep, carmelized color and flavor. The one that Michele and A.J. make is reduced with red wine, red wine vinegar, and pomegranate (grenadine) syrup, resulting in a preserve that is sweet (you are basically candying the onions), tangy, a lovely ruby-red in hue, and lighter overall (it is actually made without any kind of fat, so it doesn't congeal upon chilling). I'm not saying one type is better than the other; they are both excellent--just different--and might warrant different uses. For lunch today, I made sandwich wraps with roasted garlic mayonnaise, turkey, ham, roast beef, leaf lettuce, Campari tomatoes, Gorgonzola crumbles, and the Endless Banquet oignons confit. Delish!

Sweet-and-Tangy Oignons Confits
(Source: adapted from

about 2 1/2 pounds onions, peeled and finely minced (I prefer mine finely sliced for more texture)
2 cups grenadine syrup*
2 cups red wine
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cook the minced onions in a non-stick saucepan for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

Add vinegar and red wine to the onions and reduce over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Lower the heat and add sugar and grenadine syrup*. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and simmer over medium heat for about an hour. The mixture will reduce considerably until it thickens and takes on the consistency of a proper confiture (like jam). Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place in jars and refrigerate. Yield will be between 1 1/2 to 2 pints.

*Because most manufactured grenadines that are commercially available (like Rose's) are mainly corn syrup and citric flavorings, I decided to make my own with real pomegranate juice. It's super-easy. I brought two cups of juice (Knudsen's all-pomegranate juice that I found in the organic section of Hannaford, a local supermarket) to a boil with one cup of sugar, turned it to low, and let it reduce down a bit while I softened the onions.

Then, of course, it's trivia night, so I had to make a treat to take along to the pub. My teammate, June, is the Queen of Lemon Bars, but I thought I'd make a slightly different kind to share with everyone. I love lemon--perhaps more than most--but I enjoy it most when the lemony goodness is cut with something creamy, be it cream, sour cream, yogurt, or cream cheese (cream, cream,'s a theme). So when I spied this recipe on the Culinary in the Desert/Country blog, I knew I had to try it. To gild the lily, the shortbread base is made with toasted pecans; it's a wonderful combination. And if you use a food processor, this recipe can be put together lickety-split. Give it a try.

Creamy Lemon Pecan Bars
(Source: adapted from

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated lemon zest (I doubled this!)
confectioners' sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and vanilla (I did this in the food processor). Mix in the whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, salt and toasted pecans until crumbly. Scoop mixture into a 9" x 13" baking dish coated with nonstick spray. Pat the mixture down to form an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes (or until lightly browned). Remove and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth and well blended (again, I did this in the food processor). Mix in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup flour, lemon juice and zest.

Pour mixture over the baked crust. Bake until set and very lightly browned around the edges - about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Place in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. Dust with confectioners' sugar on top before cutting into bars. Store in the fridge.

1 comment:

kitchenmage said...

Oh poor you! Not too much confit! You can always send some my way, you know. I'll suffer so you don't have to.