Caramelised Red Onion & Chilli Pickle

IMG_1391And for exactly the same reasons I made the Sweet Tomato & Chilli Chutney, I’ve made this batch of Red Onion and Chilli pickle.  This is quite a bit hotter if you make it with 4 chillies, and is great to accompany sausages!

The balsamic vinegar adds the to rich effects of the caramelisation, but can be a bit pricey.  To keep the costs down you can replace  a proportion of the balsamic with more red wine vinegar. One word of caution with this recipe – don’t try & rush the caramelisation step.  It takes time to do this.  If you rush, you’ll burn the onions & the pickle will be bitter


  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1.2 kg Red Onions, sliced (about 10 onions)
  • 2-4 Red Chillies (cayenne type), chopped, including seeds
  • 1 tsp Fresh Thyme (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 200g Brown Sugar
  • 100ml Red Wine Vinegar
  • 200ml Balsamic Vinegar
  • pinch of Salt


  • Sweat the onions with the olive oil in a large pan on a low heat – leave covered for 10 minutes stirring occasionally
  • Remove the lid and add the chilli, thyme & pepper. Continue to cook the onions down until caramelised, but not burned.  This may take 20-30 minutes, the onions will be browning gently & quite sticky
  • Add the sugar and stir well before adding the remaining ingredients
  • Bring to the boil and gently simmer until reduced down (up to an hour).  There should be some liquid left in the pan  Stir periodically to prevent catching
  • Bottle immediately into sterilised jars
  • Leave to mature somewhere cool & dark for as long as you’ve got the will power for. This improves a lot with age.  Try & give it at least a month

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