Friday, February 02, 2007

Celebrating Burns Night with a wonderful whisky and red onion marmalade

Last Sunday the Tallinn chapter of the MacEstonians Society held a Burns Supper. Well, there is no official chapter or society as such, but as few of the previously Scotland-based Estonians (hence the Mac + Estonians) have returned home (incl yours truly) , then we thought that Burns Supper would be a perfect opportunity to catch up. There were ten of us around the table, some of whom had come from as far as Tartu and one even from Edinburgh. This was particularly handy, as we had fresh haggis to go with our neeps and tatties, the obligatory course at any Burns Supper which followed a cock-a-leekie soup and preceeded a delicious Cranachan. Obviously, Scottish music and recitals of Burns' poems were there, too.

But what do you serve between the courses and to go with the copious amounts of whisky? Well, whisky and onion marmalade, obviously. Last year I made potato shortcrust canapés filled with haggis and topped with a rich shallot and whisky gravy. This year I re-used the shallot and whisky gravy idea, but in a slightly more substantial form, making this incredibly simple recipe up as I went along. Ideally, I would have served this marmalade with some crumbly Scottish cheddar cheese and coarse oatcakes. Sadly. I couldn't find oatcakes here, neither did I have the time to bake some myself. But crispy rye bread worked well, too, as did English cheddar cheese.

Red onion marmalade with whisky
Yields about 200 ml

500 grams red onions, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
3 Tbsp olive oil
100 grams caster sugar
salt to taste
about 2 Tbsp whisky, or to taste

Peel the onions, halve lengthwise and slice thinly.
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add onions and fry at a very low heat for about 10 minutes.
Now add the sugar and salt, stir, and continue frying gently for another hour. Make sure not to burn the onions, but caramelise them slowly.
When the onions have turned into a required consistency, then add the whisky (we used a 10-year old Glenkinchie, known as The Edinburgh Malt), stir and remove from the heat. Cool.

Serve with crispbread/oatcakes and Cheddar cheese. And whisky, obviously:)


Roxie said...

Good girl! Thought you forgot but didn't dare criticize x

Jennifer Jeffrey said...

YUM! Brings back fond memories of my time in Scotland last year...

sciencemel said...

You are so creative! I'd never be able to make it up on the fly, so my hats off to you!

Melting Wok said...

Pille, thanks for sharing :) This is new to me. My mom used to make something similar to this using shallots, instead of red onions, and I would use this marmalades to marinate chicken and broil them afterwards, yumss :)

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Just found this article that I must have missed on my last visit.

I havent had a red onion marmalade in a very long time now - and your original take (with the whisky!) sounds great!

Baking Soda said...

Glad I found you again! I love the onion marmalades and oh yes...caramalized and whiskey too!

Gracianne said...

Uhm, Oignon and good whisky, sounds great, and looks great too.

Pille said...

Roxie, of course I didn't forget!! I just kept psst about it:)

Jennifer - pity we didn't manage to meet up for that wee glass of whisky!

Melinda - I'm sure you would! This was an easy-peasy dish to put together anyway!

Melting Wok - this marmalade was a bit too thick for using as a marinade, but thanks for the tip!

Scott - there had to be whisky somewhere in the food, too! It was Burns Supper, after all:)

Baking Soda - welcome:)

Gracianne - onions and whisky worked well together indeed.