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COOKING WITH A PICKLE FOOD & COOKING ARTICLE

Garner's picklesAs a well known British favourite, pickled onions are usually enjoyed with fish and chips, a ploughman’s platter or even a pint of cider. But these little joys in a jar can be used for more than just the traditional.

Pickled onions are also a surprisingly versatile ingredient that can be used in salads, hotpots and even curries. To help us learn how we can incorporate these snacks into our own homemade dishes, Nigel Barden shares his top tips for those not so traditional pickled onion recipes.

Below are some interesting recipes using pickles and in addition Nigel Barden video demonstrates how to make some great meatballs with a pickled onion twist which add a fantastic texture and that famous sweet tang. Watch the video to find out how to make your own perfect pickled onion meatballs.

The recipes come form Garner’s who produce pickled onions, as well as other pickles and chutneys.

Who are Garner's?

In the beginning . . . there was a farmer’s wife from Worcestershire who, every year, would preserve some of her fruit and vegetable crop to keep her storecupboard stocked over winter. Friends began to enjoy her little jars of piquant pickles and they also started to make appearances at fetes, markets, delicatessens and speciality food stores.

The locals developed a bit of a taste for these pickled delights with their distinctive crunchy texture and strong vinegar kick. As word spread, demand grew and eventually it became clear the farmhouse kitchen table just wasn’t going to do. Production moved to other premises nearby and eventually to a purpose built facility on farm land in Pershore.

In 2001 the family-owned and run business Baxters took over the reins at Garner’s, continuing the company’s tradition of quality and taste.

Today they still take great pride in hand making the pickles for a real homemade taste. Every onion is hand peeled and inspected to make sure it passes the Garner’s test before being pickled in the finest malt vinegar. They have stuck to traditional pickling techniques and the original recipe to ensure every Garner’s onion has that trademark taste and crunch.

The Garner’s range includes a variety of pickles and chutneys for all tastes and serving occasions. They make great accompaniments, handy ingredients and simple snacks - all round storecupboard heroes. If you like to get creative in the kitchen take a look at the recipes for some inspiration:

Nigel Barden’s Punchy Meatballs with a twist

Pan Roasted Venison with Pickled Shallots

Pickled Onion Beef Roulades

Pork and Pickled Onion Hot Pot

Cheese and Pickled Onion Pizza

Cauliflower with Pickled Onion Sauce

NIGEL BARDEN’S PUNCHY MEATBALLS WITH A TWIST

Ingredients

6 Garner’s Original Pickled Onions/160g
500g minced beef
75g wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 medium egg
Freshly milled pepper
A light pinch of salt
1 level tsp mixed herbs
Rapeseed oil for frying

Nigel Barden’s Punchy Meatballs with a Twist

Method

  • Chop the pickled onions and place in a bowl with beef, breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning.
  • Mix ingredients with a fork. You can also lightly blitz with a food processor for a smoother mixture.
  • Using a pudding spoon, take spoonfuls of the mix and shape into neat balls. Place on a plate and chill until ready for use.
  • Heat oil in pan and brown the meatballs on all sides, keep the pan moving gently.
  • Once browned, reduce heat and continue cooking for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Cut open one meatball to check they are thoroughly cooked through with no pink or use a thermometer probe. The internal temperature should exceed 75°C.
  • Serve up your meatballs with mashed potato, a sprinkling of chopped pickled onions for extra bite and a spoonful of fruit jelly such as cranberry but you can also use redcurrant or bramble.

As an alternative to meatballs you can also make burgers with the same mix.

Serves 4 - 6 depending on appetites!

PAN ROASTED VENISON WITH PICKLED SHALLOTS

The venison is delicious served alongside creamy mashed potatoes with a sprinkling of chives.

Ingredients

150g Garners Pickled Shallots, drained
15mls rapeseed oil
4 venison steaks
150g button mushrooms
A few sprigs of thyme
4 tbsps redcurrant jelly
1 small glass red wine
Freshly milled black pepper and a light pinch of salt

Pan Roasted Venison with Pickled Shallots

Method

  • Quickly pan-fry venison in oil for 6 minutes, depending on thickness, over a medium high heat, searing both sides but retaining tenderness within.
  • Season with pepper.
  • Allow to rest by wrapping in foil and keeping warm in a low oven.
  • Add mushrooms to same pan and sauté - with a further drizzle of oil if necessary.
  • Add pickled shallots and sauté for a couple more minutes.
  • Add thyme and season.
  • Deglaze pan with jelly and wine.
  • Bring to boil to simmer all the juices and combine flavours.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Serve venison on heated plates with sauce spooned over.

Serves 4

PICKLED ONION BEEF ROULADES

Known as beef olives north of the border, the beef, blue cheese and Garner’s are the perfect combination.

Ingredients

200g Garner’s Original Pickled Onions, drained
100g 50-50 beef and pork mince/ or high quality sausagemeat
75g blue cheese – or soft cheese of your choice
1 tbsp fresh parsley
A pinch of chilli powder to taste
Freshly milled salt and pepper
2 large thin slices of beef – sirloin or frying steak
300mls tomato juice/passata

Pickled Onion Beef Roulades

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 180°C / Gas 4.
  • In a bowl, combine minced meat with crumbled cheese, parsley, seasoning and half the pickled onions, roughly chopped.
  • Lay meat slices on a raw meat chopping board and cut each slice in two.
  • Divide filling into 4 sausage shapes and place each on the meat.
  • Roll up meat and fix firmly with wooden cocktail sticks.
  • Butter a casserole dish of sufficient size to place the beef olives flat on base.
  • Seal tightly with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes to brown.
  • Remove from oven and pour tomato juice around beef olives.
  • Season and add remaining pickled onions, halved.
  • Cover and cook for a further 40 minutes until the tomato sauce is bubbling and the meat is thoroughly cooked.
  • Check occasionally and add a little water if necessary to keep the dish moist.

Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and seasonal greens.

Serves 2

PORK AND PICKLED ONION HOT POT

The classic hot pot gets a Ganrer’s makeover. Serve with boiled rice and green salad for a delicious evening meal.

Ingredients

100g Garner’s Original Pickled Onions, drained
200g sliced leg of pork, diced/3 boneless steaks
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
9 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp brown sugar
A light pinch of salt and freshly milled pepper
150mls vegetable stock – a quarter tsp of bouillon powder dissolved in boiling water
1 dessertspoon cornflour, blended in a little water
250g long grain rice

Pork and Pickled Onion Hot Pot

Method

  • Heat oil in pan and brown pork on both sides.
  • Halve onions and add to pan with tomatoes and sauté with pork for a couple of minutes, taking care not to burn.
  • Add stock to deglaze pan and season.
  • Place lid on pan, adjust heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  • Check occasionally and add a little water if required.
  • When casserole is nearly ready, boil rice in lightly salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and return to pan.
  • Finally add cornflour, blended in a cup with a little cold water, for the last few minutes of cooking and bring to boil for a final time to thicken juices. The result should be almost sticky.

Serve 3

CHEESE AND PICKLED ONION PIZZA

The perfect Friday night pickled onion pick me up. The sauce also works well with a bowl of pasta for an alternative simple supper.

Ingredients

For bread base (or buy ready made pizza bases):
225g strong white plain flour
Half a level tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet easy blend yeast
150mls warm water
30mls olive oil

For topping Pickled Onion Tomato sauce:
3 tbsps Garner’s Pickled Shallots, drained
1 dstsp olive oil
1 medium can chopped tomatoes
Freshly milled black pepper
1 level tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp honey

150g of your favourite cheese – sliced Mozzarella / grated cheddar / crumbled Cheshire or blue cheese

Cheese and Pickled Onion Pizza

Method

To make dough:

  • Mix flour, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre.
  • Add warm water and oil.
  • Mix to a soft dough, adding a little water if the mixture is too dry.
  • Gather the dough together with your hand and knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
  • Meanwhile make sauce following the instructions below.
  • Divide the dough into two and shape into neat pizza bases.
  • Place on baking tray dusted with flour and place in a warm – not hot – place to rise for 15 minutes if possible.
  • Preheat oven 220°C / Gas 7.
  • Spoon sauce over pizza bases, leaving a rim. Add nuggets of cheese.
  • Bake for approximately 8 - 10 minutes until the top is bubbling and dough golden.

To make sauce:

  • Heat oil in a small pan and sauté onions quickly.
  • Add remaining sauce ingredients and simmer gently for approximately 5 minutes until the tomatoes are reduced and the sauce thickens.
  • Set aside.

Serves 2

CAULIFLOWER WITH PICKLED ONION SAUCE

A hearty winter warmer with added bite thanks to the tangy shallots. You can make this without bacon for a tasty vegetarian dish.

Ingredients

3 heaped tbsps Garner’s Pickled Shallots, drained
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
50g butter
50g plain flour
560mls semi skimmed milk
Freshly milled black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsps wholemeal breadcrumbs
6 rashers of streaky bacon, grilled to crisp

Cauliflower with Pickled Onion Sauce

Method

  • Cook florets in lightly salted boiling water for approximately 7 minutes until the stalks are just tender.
  • Drain and keep warm.
  • To prepare sauce, melt butter and add flour to make a roux or paste.
  • Gradually blend in milk using a balloon whisk, stirring through to boiling point for a couple of minutes. The sauce should be smooth and sufficiently thick to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Stir in parsley and drained pickled onions.
  • Season to taste.
  • Preheat grill and place cauliflower in a heat proof dish.
  • Pour over onion sauce and scatter with breadcrumbs.
  • Grill until crumbs toasted then serve topped with the crispy bacon.

Makes 3

Recipes courtesy of Garner's

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