The Food Corner


by Paul Cormier, Salamanders of Kemptville

We recently pulled out a Tourtière from the freezer for dinner. At our house, we have Tourtière pretty well all year round, not just during the festive season. One of the great accompaniments to this great traditional meat pie is my mother Yvonne’s fresh pickled onions. “Fresh pickled” is not a contradiction in terms, actually: you start with fresh onions and place them in a vinegar solution with the result that they combine the taste of the fresh onion with the pickling flavour. Let me tell you that with Tourtière, they are a sure winner. However, they are great to accompany a pork or beef roast as well. So, here goes.

Grandmère’s Pickled Onions

2 largish red onions (red onions have a thinner skin and a lighter flavour than yellow or white onions); plus they have this beautiful colour
2 cups of white vinegar (more or less, depending on the size of your jar)
2 or three tablespoons of pickling spice
2 or three tablespoons of sugar; this is to taste; if you prefer sweeter, see test in step 8 below


  1. Peel the onions and slice them as thinly as you can. Leave the slices intact and place them in a largish bowl.
  2. Bring a full kettle to a boil and cover the sliced onions with boiling water.
    Let the onions sit and sweat until the water has cooled to room temperature.
  3. Bring the two cups of white vinegar to a boil in a saucepan and drop in the pickling spice and sugar.
  4. Remove the solution from the stove and let it sit while the onions are cooling.
  5. Get yourself a handsome big jar; ours is a big white attractive kitchen jar that sits on the second shelf of our refrigerator.
  6. Layer the onions in your jar; the slices will fall apart as you layer them and that is just fine.
  7. Pour half of your solution over the onions; then taste your solution for flavour. It if is too vinegary, add some cold water, if you like the pickling flavour, leave it intact and continue filling your jar. You can also add more sugar if you wish.
  8. Put the lid on your jar and refrigerate for a week or so before dishing out with your favourite dish.

As always, just let me know how this worked out for you by contacting me at [email protected].


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