Confit d’Oignon

What’s the difference between confit d’oignon and onion marmalade? The answer is: one of them is French.

For this month’s Random Recipe challenge Dom of Belleau Kitchen has asked us to select a recipe at random from ‘a book or books you received for Christmas last year’. Now this is a bit of a problem for me because I pretty much gave up the Christmas presents thing quite a few years ago. Looking through my cookery book shelves, though, I came across a book that I seem to remember buying at a charity Christmas fair a couple of years ago. I hope that will do.

‘The Paris Café Cookbook’ by Daniel Young, published back in the 1990s, is actually an American book. As far as I know, it was never published in the UK and it was probably donated by one of the many US expats who live around here.  The book is a guide to the French capital’s cafés and a selection of the recipes you might find there.

The randomly selected  page took me to the Café de l’Industrie and a recipe for confit d’dignon made with red onions. This is a very appropriate recipe for the time of year since confit d’oignon is consumed in large quantities at Christmas time in France. Of course, you don’t need to follow the French Christmas tradition and serve this alongside foie gras; it will sit very happily alongside many different meats, pâtés, poultry and cheeses.

Confit d'Oignon
To be honest, this is pretty similar to many other onion marmalade and confit recipes but, like a number of other French recipes I've come across, it adds grenadine to the mix, which gives not only a pleasing sweet and sour flavour but also a fantastic colour. I confess that I've changed the quantities a little and lengthened the cooking times. I've no excuse really; it’s just that I like very soft, melting onions. Depending on how much you reduce the confit, this will fill around 2 standard jam jars or 4 smaller jars.

6 red onions (obviously onions vary a lot in size, but around 700 – 730 g unprepared weight should be about right)
60 ml neutral flavoured oil, such as sunflower oil
125 ml red wine vinegar
125 ml sirop de grenadine
450 g granulated sugar

Peel and slice or chop the onions quite finely, although a little variation in size will be no bad thing. A food processor will make this a lot easier, of course. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Fry gently with plenty of stirring until the onions are thoroughly softened. This will take at least 20 minutes, but shorten this time if you prefer more texture in the finished confit.

Pour in the wine vinegar and the grenadine and bring to the boil, while continuing to stir. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring back to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. The confit will thicken, but there’s no real need to worry about a setting point as you would with jam. Stir in a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Allow the confit to cool a little before pouring into sterilised jars and sealing. Et le tour est joué, as they say in Paris.

The confit will have pretty decent keeping qualities, but I think it’s best stored in the fridge and used relatively young.

The Café de l’Industrie is still very much in business and you can find it on the corner of the Rue St-Sabin and Rue Sedaine not far from the Bréguet-Sabin metro station.


  1. Lol - your first sentence is a giggle. This is a positively scrummy looking confit dooignon! And "sirop de grenadine" is an unexpected addition to the mix too. My mouthis watering though ;0)

  2. Phil it looks gorgeous... the picture is stunning, I actually want to reach into the screen with a chunk of brown toast and slather this on top!... sorry you had to find a book but glad you did... thanks so much for taking part this month... hope you have a lovely winter break and a glorious New Year! x

  3. Best eaten with foie gras of course? I really like the color the grenadine adds.

  4. Oh my - that colour! Perfect for this time of year. Perfect for the after Christmas leftovers.

  5. I am always on the search for new onion marmalade recipes. One of the supermarkets here in SA does the most amazing version - I am always trying to recreate it but it is never quite as good. I love the idea of adding grenadine. I shall have to give it a go.

  6. I have bought confit d'échalote in France, which is definitley a brown colour, but not the oignon version. I love the colour and must have a go at this recipe, it sounds delicious.

  7. What a beautiful colour that has! Sounds delicious - I like my onions very soft too.

  8. That colour is amazing and there was me thinking you had got hold of some very special extra red French onions for some secret corner of France. Onion marmalade is one of those recipe that is waiting to be made by me - one day.

  9. This looks really nice Phil. Would love to try this with pâté :)

  10. Looking so beautiful and festive - it shall be a part of our Christmas menu, thank you Phil!

  11. Looking so beautiful and festive - it shall be a part of our Christmas menu, thank you Phil!

  12. This will be just right with some pates [sorry no accents!] we're having over Christmas. Love the colour. Thanks Phil.

  13. Mmm.. this is yummy. In Italy we use the red onion of Tropea to do the same. Sooo good. Have a fab Christmas!

  14. I am going to make this to accompany the cheese and meats that we seem to live on here between Christmas and New Year. It looks amazing, and I love the colour! Merry Christmas Phil!

  15. Wow - the grenadine gives it such an amazing colour - really beautiful!

  16. I love onion marmalade, and the colour of that is just beautiful - it looks gorgeous. Happy New Year to you, Phil!


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