This is based on the GPO recipe from Le Pigeon, but I scaled it up and added extra spice. It’s worth firing up the BBQ to really caramalised the onions but a hot griddle pan also works.
- 10 medium red onions, peeled & sliced into 1cm thick disks
- 500g red wine vinegar
- 200g Apple cider vinegar
- 250g water
- 10 tablespoons dark Muscavado sugar
- 4tbs sea salt
- a bunch of thyme (about 15g)
- a handful of bay leaves
- 5 cloves of garlic roughly crushed
- 3tbs yellow mustard seeds
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinamon stick
- 3 chipotle chillies, roughly chopped
If you’re grilling the onions on the BBQ, light it and get a nice big surface area of coals as hot as possible. If you’re using a grill pan turn it onto a high heat and wait until it starts smoking.
Combine all of the ingredients except the onions in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Using your hands gently rub vegetable oil onto the cut faces of the onion disks, try to keep them as complete disks rather than separate rings. Working in small batches lay the disks onto the BBQ or grill pan and let them sizzle for 1-2 minutes each side until clear dark grill marks are visible and they smell smokey. As they become ready flip them into the still hot pickling liquid. Repeat with the rest of the onion disks.
When done, let the onions cool enough to handle and transfer to a preserving jar. Let them cool completely then move to the fridge. They’re ready after a week but after 2 weeks they become really special.
When I’m down to about 250g in my jar, I make a new batch and mix the old batch through the new before re bottling, this gives excellent contrast between young, sweet crunchy onions and older soft & sharper onions.