These shallots take a while to prepare, but are not difficult. The reward is a delightful condiment to serve as an appetizer or with meats. They are also delicious in a martini.
Makes: 7 pintsHands-on: 1 hourDifficulty: Medium
Makes: 7 pints
- 3 lbs. shallots, peeled, root ends intact
- 1½ level cups canning salt
- 8 cups cider vinegar
- 4½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 cardamom pods, crushed
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 small dried red chili peppers
- 2½ tsp. whole cloves
- ½ cup caraway seeds
- 2 tsp. dried lemon zest
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Day one: Peel the shallots, leaving the root ends intact. Place them in a nonmetallic bowl; sprinkle with canning salt. Add enough water to cover, stirring carefully to dissolve the salt. Put a plate on top of the shallots to submerge them completely. Cover with a clean cotton dish towel; put in a cool place and let sit for 24 hours.
- Day two: Drain and rinse the shallots thoroughly in cool water; dry on paper towels. Pour the vinegar and sugar into a stockpot; stir well. Make a spice ball using a doubled square of cheesecloth and cinnamon, chili peppers, cloves, and caraway seeds. Tie the spice ball with kitchen twine and to the stockpot. Add the lemon zest and pepper. Heat on medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved. Raise the heat and bring to a boil; boil for 10 minutes. Add the shallots; simmer gently for 15 minutes. Remove stockpot from heat; cover, and let sit for 24 hours.
- Day three: Slowly bring the shallots to a boil; turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove stockpot from heat; cover, and let sit for 24 hours.
- Day four: Slowly bring the shallots to a boil once more. Simmer gently until the shallots are golden brown and translucent. Discard spice ball. Ladle into sterilized jars. Use a plastic knife to remove air pockets. Cap and seal. Process in a water-bath canner for 10 minutes. Store in a cool, dark, dry place for 2–3 months to allow flavors to meld.