Recipe: Feta & Red Onion Marmalade Roly-Poly

Red Onion Marmalade Roly-Poly

Here’s a hearty vegetarian Sunday lunch centrepiece, Feta & Red Onion Marmalade Roly-Poly – a savoury take on the great British classic jam roly-poly. Made from steamed suet pastry, roly-poly is designed to be stodgy, but in my book that makes the perfect receptacle to soak up plenty of gravy, served alongside a pile of roast potatoes and spring greens.  Here, the red onions are slow-cooked with red wine, and encased with feta and spinach in a steamed walnut and lemon pastry.

The red onion marmalade can  be made a few days in advance and stored in the fridge, leaving just the pastry, assembly and steaming to do on the day.

Recipe: Feta & Red Onion Marmalade Roly-Poly
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
  • For the Red Onion Marmalade:
  • 25g butter
  • 500g red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 100ml red wine
  • For the pastry:
  • 185g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 75g vegetable suet
  • 30g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 100ml milk
  • For the filling:
  • 100g feta cheese (check it is vegetarian, some aren't)
  • Handful fresh spinach, chopped
  1. For the marmalade: melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook over a gentle heat for 40 minutes or until completely collapsed and translucent.  Add the wine and sugar, turn up the heat slightly and simmer for a further 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.  Preheat your oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry: combine the flour, baking powder, suet, walnuts and lemon zest in a large bowl, then add the milk and mix to combine into a sticky dough.  Turn out onto a very well floured surface and pat and shape with your hands into a rectangle roughly 20cm x 30cm.
  3. Spoon the red onion marmalade over the pastry, leaving a border of about 1cm around the edges.  Next, sprinkle over the chopped spinach and crumble over the feta.
  4. Now roll up the roly-poly from the short edge to the short edge, (ie. the roly-poly is about 20cm long).  Press the ends together to seal the filling inside.
  5. Take a large square of baking parchment, butter it, and place the roly-poly in the middle.  Now roll it up, but leave a generous pleat at the top to give the roly-poly room to expand during cooking.  Tie each end with a piece of string.  Now take a second piece of baking parchment and roll and tie the whole package once again, making sure to leave room for expansion.
  6. To steam the roly-poly, place it on a rack in a roasting tin (or I used a fairly deep grill pan), so that it is suspended a few centimetres above the bottom of the tray/tin.  Place it in the oven, then pour boiling water into the bottom of the tin/tray (but don't let it touch the bottom of the roly-poly).  Bake for about 45 minutes, until it is fat and cooked through.
  7. Slice and serve with plenty of gravy!

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