Pickled shallots with chilli, cinnamon and allspice

Delicious and aromatic, pickled shallots are a great addition to a picnic, homemade sharing platter, as an accompaniment to salad or as a side dish for your next meal.

The shallots offer a gentler, sweeter flavour than onions, making this the perfect alternative for any picky eaters out there who traditionally find pickled vegetables too tart.

Makes: 2 large jars      Prep time: 20 minutes       Cooking time:  15 minutes plus 24 hr soaking time

You’ll need

  • 1kg shallots, peeled
  • 50g salt
  • 750ml cider vinegar
  • 75g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole dried chillies
  • 10 allspice berries

What to do

  1. Place the shallots in a bowl, sprinkle over the salt and leave covered for 24 hrs. This process helps the shallots stay crunchy.
  2. The next day heat the vinegar until simmering, do not boil, add the sugar and spices, stir until dissolved, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse the shallots and dry with kitchen paper, spoon into sterilised jars, placing the cinnamon sticks, chillies and allspice from the vinegar in at the same time.
  4. Pour in the hot vinegar so the shallots are covered, leave to cool then put the lids on and leave for a few weeks, they will improve over time but the very earliest for eating is 2-3 weeks after pickling. Store in the fridge after opening.
  5. Serve with wedges of cheddar cheese and thick sliced ham.

Cook’s tip

To peel your shallots easily simply place in a bowl and pour over boiling water, leave to cool, drain, trim the root end and then slip off the skins.

Recipe courtesy of

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