Shallot Marmalade Recipe

French shallot marmalade recipe

Shallot jam is a wonderful addition to many dishes. It’s a bit sweet and a little tangy, the best of both – and a generous spoonful goes well with roasted meats, pâté, and can dress up a grilled chicken breast. You might not be familiar with shallots, but they are common in French cuisine and are the sweeter cousin to onions. I buy them by the sack at the outdoor markets and in American supermarkets, you’ll find them tucked away in the onion aisle.

shallotjamfinished.jpgHere are a few general tips on jam-making:

Hard & Fast

Most conserves benefit from being cooked quickly, over moderately-high heat. This allows the ingredients to retain much of their character.

Don’t Overcook

There’s nothing worse than overcooked jam. That’s when the sugar caramelizes, and that flavor overwhelms whatever else is in the jam. There’s not much you can do to save it at this point, so watch out.

Brighten Up

Fruit jams often benefit from a squirt of lemon juice or a shot of liqueur added to brighten up flavors.

Don’t Overreact

Never use reactive cookware when making jams. Materials such as non-anondized aluminum and tin can react with the acids and leave a tinny aftertaste. To avoid burning and hotspots, use heavy-duty cookware with a thick bottom.

Don’t Double Your Pleasure

In general, don’t double recipes. Better to make two small batches, since each will take less time to cook, preserving the appealing flavors of your ingredients.

Degrees of Faith

If you aren’t sure if your jam is cooked to the right temperature, check it with a candy thermometer. For this jam, it’s easy to gauge its cooking, but fruit jams ‘set’ at about 220 degrees Fahrenheit (104 C).

Shallot Marmalade
About 1 1/2 cups

This condiment goes great with pâté or as a sweet counterpoint to anything rich and meaty. In Paris, there’s normally a gathering before dinner for drinks, such as a kir or a glass of Champagne. I’ve served this with slices of foie gras on toasted brioche, a perfect partnership. You can use large or small shallots. Feel free to another dried fruit (diced, if necessary), such as apricots, figs, dried cranberries, or cherries, in place of the raisons or prunes.

  • 1 pound (450 g) shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoon unflavored vegetable oil
  • big pinch of coarse salt
  • a few turns of freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) beer
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons cider or balsamic vinegar
  • 8 prunes (3 oz/90 g), pitted, and cut into tiny pieces, or 1/2 cup (80g) raisins

1. In a medium-sized heavy-duty skillet or saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the shallots over moderate heat with a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until they’re soft and wilted, which should take about 10 minutes.

2. Add the beer, sugar, honey, vinegar, and prune pieces or raisins, and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the shallots begin to caramelize. While cooking, continue stirring them just enough to keep them from burning.

3. The jam is done when the shallots are nicely-caramelized, as shown in the picture in the post. (Do not overcook; there should still be some juices in the pot when it’s ready.)

Store the jam in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least 2 months.

Related Recipes

Seville Orange Marmalade

Bergamot Marmalade

Apricot Jam

No-Recipe Cherry Jam

Rhubarb-Berry Jam


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  • Paula
    August 15, 2006 8:54am

    Glad to hear about another cookbook to look for. I have Mme Ferber’s “Mes Tartes Sucrees et Salees.” It is in French so I have made the occasional goof. Fortunately it is (usually) less important in making a tart than jam!

  • August 15, 2006 9:29am

    I also love the beer and nib jelly.. the other jelly they make that I love too is watermelon chili!

  • August 15, 2006 9:52am

    To preserve color we use the peel of an apple when making jam.

  • Vladimir
    August 15, 2006 11:16am

    Since 212° F = 100° C (water boils), 220° F can not be 93° C; it is roughly 104° C. This science minute was brought to you by…

  • David Morton
    August 15, 2006 1:03pm

    Assume the beer goes in with the vinegar etc :-)

    Also, the ginger and white chocolate ice cream fantastic, I’ve already made three batches.
    Thank you.


  • August 15, 2006 1:20pm

    Thanks, I knew I should have stuck to fahrenheit, which I know like the back of my hand. Darn metrics! And yes, the beer goes in with the vinegar and sugar.

  • James M.
    August 15, 2006 2:07pm

    David, Thanks for posting the recipe!

    James M.

  • Connie
    August 15, 2006 10:55pm

    I love tomato jam , but have never been able to pull it off. The memory of my Grandmama’s gets in the way, but now I will get your book just for your recipe.Any hints ?

  • August 16, 2006 9:08am

    Wow that looks awfully delicious. Cocoa nibs… I’m getting in over my head now…

  • August 16, 2006 11:36am

    That sounds like a fantastic recipe – what a great fusion of tastes. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Katie
    August 16, 2006 2:21pm

    I’m also a huge fan of beer and chocolate, especially delicious belgian ales like Ommegang (brewed in Cooperstown, NY, bottled in bottles shipped from France) with dark chocolate.

  • Bea at La Tartine Gourmande
    August 17, 2006 10:45am

    Very interesting combinations indeed! Adventurous that you are! Love the shallots in it! A little bit like confiture d’oignons, yes?
    Just finished making my jams a few days ago ;-) Have to refrain from eating them too fast!

  • August 17, 2006 12:17pm

    I love savory jam like this. Your tips were really great too. I have been too intimidated to try making jam with the whole jar-sterilizing process. I may have to give it a go for SHF.

  • mike
    August 17, 2006 6:29pm

    What brand of knife is that, David? I noticed it in another one of your photos and love the look of it…

  • August 19, 2006 5:24am

    1 question: have you (or anyone) tried to make jams/preserves with no or very little sugar – just fruit? I tried, rather unsuccessfully, last year when our fruit trees were all in hyper-drive. They were all very flavorful…but rather runny – except the pear-ginger and the apple butter.

    1 comment: Growing up in Wisconsin Beer country – nothing tastes better than beer and chocolatey Devil’s food cake with Fudge frosting…

  • August 25, 2006 4:45pm

    Mmmmmmmmm shallots. Remember Middleton Gardens? Once at TFL we bought the most exquisite little shallots from Nancy and Thomas roasted them. I stole a few skins and when he caught me I said I wanted to make roasted shallot skin ice cream.

    This combination sounds fabulous and your hints are spot on!

  • August 26, 2006 2:37pm

    It’s a Katana Nakiri
    made by Calphalon.
    They’re great knives, I have two. They’re very sharp and reasonably priced!

  • August 30, 2006 10:03am

    Love your blog. This recipe sounds so interesting. I agree 100% with your views on the Christine Ferber book which is wonderful! Have made quite a few jams out of it and her method has taught me a lot!Thanks for the jam making tips as well.