Currently viewing the tag: "Friday night pairings"
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions, finely chopped
2-3 red peppers, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2 red jalapeno peppers or 2 small red chilis, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 tsp of smoked sweet paprika
1 cup of pureed fresh tomatoes or pureed canned tomatoes
6 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp harissa* see our Fridge and Pantry recipe for homemade harissa
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft. Next add the red pepper, garlic, chili and paprika to the pot, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the red pepper is soft. Add the tomato puree, sherry, vinegar, sugar and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once brought to a boil, reduce the heat so the mixture is at a low simmer. Add the harisa,  cumin and sea salt. Leave to cook at a low simmer for about 90-120 minutes, stirring occasionally. The jam will reduce in fluid and become thicker, with the red colour deepening. Give it a taste and add additional sea salt or harisa to your liking.

This is great served fresh and will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for a few weeks. If you want to can it to be kept longer, prepare small jelly jars or medium sized jam jars by sterilizing and filling with boiling water. Sterilize the lids and rings at the same time. Empty the water out of the jars and fill each jar with the hot jam until 1/2″ below the top. Place the lid and ring on each jar. Process the jars in a hot water bath by placing the jars in a pot of boiling water so that the water covers the jars by an inch or so of water. Boil the jars for 10 minutes and then remove from the hot water bath and let cool.

This makes an excellent pairing with manchego, chorizo sausage, aged white cheddar or sliced avocado. We have really enjoyed it as a spread on crostinis with capers or a sliver of asiago on top, or as a spread on a roast chicken sandwich or a veggie sandwich with roasted eggplant, carmelized onions and avocado. It is also delicious with a grilled artichoke…Try it out and let us know what you pair it best with!

1 cup dried red chilis, stems removed
3 tbsp ground coriander
3 tbsp ground cumin
15 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup olive oil
3 tsp sea salt

Chop the chilis roughly and then cover with boiling water, leaving them to soak for approximately one hour. Drain the water and puree the chilis in a food processor. Add the spices and garlic, 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 1/2 tsp of the sea salt. Puree the mixture together for 30 seconds, then use a spatula to scrape the sides of the food processor before mixing for another 30 seconds or so. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp of sea salt, then puree the mixture again. Continue this cycle, repeating the process until all of the olive oil and sea salt has been added and the mixture has formed a thick paste.

Sterilize the canning jars, using either medium sized jam jars or large squat jars, while sterilizing the lids and rings as well. Spoon the paste in the clean, sterilized canning jars. Process the jars by placing them in a pot of boiling water, with an inch or so of water covering the jars. Keep the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool.

The harissa is excellent for adding that bit of needed spice to couscous, paella or most any recipe around the kitchen that needs a bit of kick. There is always a revolving jar of harissa in our fridge since it finds its way in a surprising number of our dishes…


3 lbs. yellow onions
6 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
3 heaping tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 cup Port – Warre’s Warrior Porto Wine Reserve works great. *Be sure not to use a tawny or ruby port*
3 tbsp. red wine confit or red currant jelly 
freshly ground black pepper

Peel and slice the onions thinly. The slicer attachment on your food processor can also work great for this, or just put on a great album and watch your fingers!

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, then add the onions, sea salt and thyme. Stir the onions occasionally as they soften over 35-40 minutes.

Once the onions are soft, add the remaining ingredients and grind a healthy dose of black pepper over the mixture. Bring the onions to a boil and cook for another 10 minutes until most – but not all – of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Fill your small jars with the warm confit, seal and process the jars.

This recipe does not make very many jars – only about 9 4 oz. jars – so, since you’re chopping, it’s not much more to double this recipe.

The confit goes beautifully well with all ranges of foie gras, pâté, terrines or charcuterie in general. And of course, as the perfect pairing on any cheese board. Try it with an aged Spanish cheese like manchego or Zamorano. It truly is one of the key items in throwing together something for some last minute wine pairings with friends on a Friday evening. It has become one of the best staples in our fridge and the jar that most quickly disappears – so doubling the recipe will never hurt!