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Shallot-Beer-Cacao Nib Marmalade

When my two pounds of organic cacao nibs arrived yesterday, I began to search for unique ways to use them. I stumbled across a recipe for a shallot-beer marmalade, brain-child of former Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz. And, thus, begins my culinary adventures with cacao.

Of course I can't leave well-enough alone and had to do my usual tweaking. He uses prunes which I will happily skip. And I'll add what Dylan calls "those salty little beans."



8 large shallots, peeled and sliced
2 T olive oil
big pinch of smoked sea salt
a few turns of freshly-cracked black pepper
1/2 C beer (I used a Mission St. Brown Ale)
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
2 T unsulphered molasses
3 T balsamic vinegar
8 calimyrna figs, destemmed and quartered
2 T capers
1 heaping T organic raw cacao nibs

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.

Add the beer, sugar, molasses, vinegar, fig pieces, capers, and cocoa nibs and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the shallots begin to caramelize. While cooking, continue stirring them just enough to keep them from burning.

The marmalade is done when the shallots are nicely-caramelized, as shown.

Spoon the marmalade into sterilized jars, leaving about a 1/2" gap to the top. Gently tap the bottom of each jar on the counter to release any air bubbles. Using a damp clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars and secure the lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 10-15 minutes. Remove the containers with tongs and let cool on the counter.

You’ll hear the sound of can tops popping shortly—a sign that a secure seal has been made. Pop, pop, pop. Or, you can refrigerate the jar without processing and use it within three weeks. Enjoy!

I think this would make a delicious complement to a venison roast. Time to barter with Brian, the best killer in the family.

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Manic Mother

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