...as relish, actually.
Let's suppose that, hypothetically, I was trying to make a classic family seasonal/holiday-type recipe that could be sent somewhere in the mail. After consultation with my mom, I decided to brew up a batch of onion relish. It's vaguely credited to the Romania-on-the-Ohio culinary tradition present in many of my mom's inherited recipes. More important than its provenance, though, is that it is easy and low impact. The result of a few hours of inattentive simmering is warming and festively red. It's also versatile. Pour it over chicken breasts for a quick dinner, or eat it right out of the fridge on pita bread for a dinner's-not-ready- because-you-were-cooking-for-someone-you've-never-met?! snack.
(Before we begin, I should note that the quantities below are mere suggestions. There's not much science going on here.)
5 large onions (I used sweet, but any kind will do)
Saute them until soft-ish in a heavy-bottomed pan with:
1 Tablespoon oil
1 small can of diced tomatoes
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon salt (less if you are wary of sodium)
1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tablespoons rice (not optional)
Water to cover
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for three hours, stirring occasionally. Keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of months, easy.
In case you're wondering why I consider this a "holiday food": Onion relish is part of my mom's repertoire for when people are traveling to our house for festive occasions. Arrival times are often...flexible. And, similar to a big pot-o-chili or spaghetti sauce, you can put this on the stove and it will patiently wait for as long as missed flights, traffic, or snow delays require.