Onion Jam

This is a recipe from Darina Allen’s ‘Forgotten Skills of Cooking’ which she advises to make when you have a ‘glut of onions’. I’m not really sure when you would find yourself with a glut of onions, I certainly never have, but did have a glut of leftover cooking red wine (an equally rare occurence) and decided to use it on this.Onion jam is rich and savoury-sweet, great with pates or in sandwiches.

Hopeless suburbanite that I am (not exactly the target audience of the book) I ventured to the supermarket for the onions, which allowed me to observe two conflicting trust issues in Denmark that I can’t get my head around. Outside Danish supermarkets, regardless of weather, you will see a baby sleeping unattended in a pram. Inside supermarkets, you are required to hand over any bags of shopping you may have with you, in case you use them to conceal shoplifting. So while people are perfectly happy to trust strangers and the elements with their newborn’s wellbeing, they will not trust them to be let loose near a bag of sugar in case they knick it…

This recipe gave Darina 450ml of jam, and gave me around 800ml of jam…


  • 700g onions
  • 25g butter
  • 140g sugar
  • 7 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 250ml red wine


  • Peel, slice and roughly chop the onions into 2cm (ish) pieces.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat and slowly cook until it turns brown (be careful, it takes a while for it to go brown, but once it does it can very quickly burn).
  • Add the onions and sugar, mix well and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, covered with a lid, over a low heat for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the wine and sherry and cook for another 3o minutes without a lid, stirring frequently.
  • It won’t reduce too much, and should still be a bit liquid when put in the jars.
  • Sterilise the jars in an oven at 180C for 10 minutes, and fill while they are still hot.

11 thoughts on “Onion Jam

  1. Very nice recipe for onion jam. About babies outside supermarkets in Denmark. I guess people over here don´t steel babies. Only groceries :-).
    Great blog you have.
    / Søren

    • It’s apparently a very Danish thing. A Danish tourist in NYC was arrested in the 1990s for doing it and her child was placed in temporary foster care. It was a big scandal back in the day, and people still remember it in Denmark now.

  2. I couldn’t stop laughing when I read this post. You raise a very good question about this contradiction in Danish philosophy.Last year another blogger that I follow pointed out that people do the same thing (leave a baby in a pram) outside of shops in Sweden. Very strange. I LOVE onion jams and chutney — yours sounds great!

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