Friday, November 18, 2005

Consuming Onions with Relish


...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.

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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

Add:
1 small can of diced tomatoes
or
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.

4 comments:

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 house...do 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!