This recipe sounds like it uses a lot of onions but, after long slow cooking, they go down to a small intensely flavoured residue. Anyway you cannot cook a small amount in this way and get the right result. As well as serving onion confit as a vegetable, you could also try it tossed with pasta or on crostini. The addition of cassis, the blackcurrant liqueur used with dry white wine to make kir, is a suggestion from Alice Waters, the celebrated Californian restaurateur and food writer.
Put the onions in a heavy saucepan with the butter. Season and fry over a medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and stir in. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes more, when the onions will have softened.
Add the red wine and red wine vinegar, with the thyme leaves and, if you have some to hand, the cassis. Lower the heat, stir and simmer gently for about ½ hours, or until all the liquid has evaporated and you are left with a dark-coloured syrupy mass.
Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to a week.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.