Friday, November 18, 2005

Consuming Onions with Relish 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.

Onion Relish

(Before we begin, I should note that the quantities below are mere suggestions. There's not much science going on here.)

Roughly chop:
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.


Lucia said...

How have I missed the onion relish of which you speak? Can I drop by unannounced at your house next week and taste? I'm very curious...
FYI When I think of you cookin (this is totally inappropriate given your obvious skills now) I think only of the time we made a vat of potato leek soup at my dad's you remember obsessing over not having white pepper? Ahh...

Katherine said...

I made potato leek soup again recently--I think for the first time since it was the first thing we cooked EVER. It was pretty ambitious of us, I gotta say. Feel free to come by, Goose.

Pam said...

So I guess this means that I am making up some onion sauce for Thanksgiving!

Amy said...

I'm so lucky to be the recipient!!!! I can't wait to try it!