I posted part one of this bbq dish series last year during grill season and I'm only finally getting around to posting it! The onion beer jam makes a fantastic hostess/host gift, but only if you're making it within 48 hours of gifting. I'm hoping one of these days I'll find a recipe that can be preserved in mason jars, but for now the possibility of the wrong types of bacteria are too intimidating.
Neither of these is a main dish, but by the end of this post I hope none of my readers will mind all that much. I discovered the Beer Onion Jam nearly by accident while preparing a fancy-ish meal to bring on a foodie camping trip. When I made it up I didn't realize how similar it was to a French dish, confit l'oignon, until I stumbled across a post on one of google+'s food-loving communities, in fact my main community, foodies+. The confit stores very well if poured into a sterilized jar and I have to admit I'm still tinkering with a version of my onion jam recipe that will do better in the long term. As for the potatoes...my word, the fluffy baked-in-butter potatoes have my vote for side dish of the year! Lemon zest and Thyme add a lovely combo of citrus fragrance and smoky herbaceous-ness, and the absolute best potato to use in this dish hands down is yukon gold. A really good dark beer is required for the Onion Jam; the few times I've tried to use a cheap beer the liquid in the jam tasted sort of dirty and very salty.
I'm sure you're wondering how a dish is made up "by accident"; well, while planning the meal I wanted to complement the flavor of some delicious organic pork sausages I planned to grill. I came across a recipe suggesting a beer-onion-garlic marinade for pork sausages. According to the recipe the sausages would be simmered for awhile in beer. The cooking liquid smelled so delicious while cooking that it made me realize reducing the liquid and bottling the result would make for a fantastic relish. As it turned out, it was a big hit! It lent an amazing flavor to our grilled sausages. We ended up with a lot more relish than we could use, so I'd recommend using the liquid to braise some sausages for you and your family the night before attending or hosting a big bbq, then reducing the simmering liquid, pureeing the results and serving it up at the next day's bbq alongside your other hot dog/sausage/hamburger condiments. It tastes amazing with a little mayo on a grilled pork sausage.
Beer Onion Relish
2 slices uncured, thick cut bacon, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
18 - 24 ounces good dark beer (a stout or a porter from a brewer whose beers you enjoy)
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium flame, cook bacon until crispy and fat has been rendered.
2. Add onion, garlic and black pepper, and stir to coat. Add beer to just cover all ingredients.
3. Add in bay leaf and mustard powder and reduce heat to low.
4. Simmer, uncovered over low heat until liquid reduces by at least half.
5. Once liquid has reduced, remove from heat and allow jam to cool before pureeing mixture. Serve as a condiment with grilled sausages and burgers. It is amazing on the same bun with mayo, particularly mayo with a little horseradish mixed in!
Lemon Thyme Butter New Potatoes
12 - 14 smallish new yukon gold potatoes
2 sprigs with of thyme leaves (strip leaves off and discard woody stems)
Zest of 1/3 lemon
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
Salt, to taste (I use around 1/2 teaspoon, but I much prefer potatoes that aren't lacking in it)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (3 or so twists of the grinder into your mixing bowl ought to do it)
1. preheat oven to 42 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl combine butter, thyme, salt, pepper & lemon zest. Add in scrubbed whole potatoes and toss to coat.
3. Spread in a single even layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 - 35 minutes, or until fork tender.
Enjoy alongside your grilled mains.*
*If you want to cook these on the bbq alongside your grilled mains, spread them out in a sing layer on aluminum foil, then cover with foil and crimp top & bottom foil together to seal in steam escaping from potatoes. Depending upon the size of the potatoes they'll need to cook on the grill in their foil packet for 45 - 55 minutes. If you're going to grill I'd highly recommend grilling up some olive, salt & pepper rubbed spring onions (all one piece, but white & light green parts only--discard dark green rougher top parts) until tender and somewhat more translucent and then slicing them and adding them to some mayo to make an unbelievable dipping sauce for the potatoes.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and I welcome your feedback!
Post Script: Sorry for the low quality photo; those potatoes were make, then gobble!