Okay. Chef thought tomato jam sounded weird. Until I explained that it really was more of a cooked-down relish or chutney. Then he was only slightly dubious. When I gave him a bite of the finished product, he proclaimed: “That’s good. It would be good on a burger.” High praise indeed! He’s not a deliverer of false praise. Quite the opposite. He makes you work for your food compliments!
People always ask me if it’s intimidating to cook for Chef. Hmmm.….not really. He has an appreciation for real, down home food like his mama used to make. But he also obviously has a palate for finer food, which comes in real handy when I get in the mood to try new things.
I loved the name too much not to call this ‘Tomato Jam’. It’s unexpected. And delicious. Just the right balance of sweet, savory, and spicy. Use it in place of ketchup on anything. I recommend it highly as a meatloaf accompaniment!
makes 1 1/2–2 cups, depending on how far you cook it down
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 cup sweet vidalia onion, chopped
1 medium-large jalapeno pepper–seeds and membranes removed from half of pepper
28 oz. peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a large, heavy saucepan on medium heat, heat the oil or butter. When hot, add the onion and pepper. Saute, stirring constantly to prevent any burning, until onion is softened and translucent.
Add the tomatoes, and give them some chopping up. Bring to a low boil and add the cider vinegar, brown sugar, spices, and salt and pepper. Turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until jam has reached desired consistency. This will take anywhere from 60–90 minutes. Most of the runny liquid should be gone, leaving a thick, but not dry end result.
Store refrigerated in a jar as you would a relish. Use within 2–3 weeks.