Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Roast Garlic and Onion Jam, With a Twist.

Whilst on one of my cyber-pottering trips – you know the kind of thing, work is a bit slow so you randomly look for projects for the weekend – I thought it would be interesting to go beyond chutneys and try my hand at jams and marmalades. The recipe which caught my imagination most was from the Ambrosia blog, written by Coco, for roast garlic and onion jam. My first thought was that it sounded fantastic – I love caramelized onions and an a big fan of creamy sweetness of roasted garlic, the idea of marrying those flavours with a nice beer was simply too much to resist.

As I am learning with my beer cooking experiments, finding the right beer to enhance the flavours of a recipe is vitally important, which is why it took me some 2 weeks to decide on the beer for this recipe. My first thought was to go for something big and bold, like an imperial stout or strong English ale – the front runners at the time were either Hobgoblin or again using the Primátor 24°. Eventually though I came to the conclusion that something big and bold would probably be quite overpowering, especially given the rather strong flavours already in the recipe.

I fairly quickly dismissed the idea of using ale and set about finding a lager which would do the trick. The beer I settled upon would have to be sweetish with malty notes that would backup the roasted flavour of the garlic rather than compete with it. So Mrs Velkyal and I eventually agreed that it would have to be a polotmávé, or amber lager, and I decided that I wanted to use a Chodovar product – especially as I had a collection of various bottles to use.

My recipe ended up as follows:

  • 750g roughly chopped onions
  • 2 heads roasted garlic
  • 4 dessertspoons brown sugar
  • 125 ml Chodovar Skální ležák
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons apple vinegar
  • Olive oil
And here’s what to do with it all

  1. Break up the garlic heads, put in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 90 minutes. When the garlic is roasted, squeeze out the soft insides.
  2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, when hot add the onions and cover, stir occasionally until they are softened and translucent – this should take about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar, stir and replace the lid, stir occasionally until onions are golden, this takes about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the beer, stir and cover to cook for about 30 minutes.
  5. When the onions are dark brown add the vinegar, garlic cloves and water.
  6. Cook uncovered until you have a rich sticky mixture.
  7. Let the mixture cool before putting in sterilized jars.
This was remarkably easy to make, and wonderfully tasty. There was only one little problem, from about 750g of onions I got about 300g of jam. So next time I make this, probably the weekend after this, I will double or treble the amounts so that I can make several jars. I would particularly recommend enjoying this with a good welsh rarebit, made with the best cheddar cheese you can get your hands on.
And of course having opened a bottle of beer, you just have to finish it while you cook!


  1. Wow! Looks delicious!
    I can't help thinking of it as a sambal badjak, without the peppers!

    Does it have a smoky component?

  2. Not really, though I guess there is a slight smokiness from the roasted garlic - however, I fear you have just given me a new idea (I have been dying to try smoking food at home).

  3. Oh I'm so glad you made this! Looks great!


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