Phew! So today marked my first day off at Boots after a hectic and tiring 6-day run. It has been crazily busy in work but I've loved it, I love being the happy little bubbly person who waves frantically at people to try and get them to come to the till, asking them how their day is going and asking how close they are to finishing the Christmas shop. What has amazed me about Boots is the amount of foodie gifts they are offering, I've never noticed it before but wow - the selection is fabulous. Little jams/preserves, tagines, baking sets, cookbooks, I want it all!
Anyway, chutney making has been on the to-do list for a while now. I did my first batch of chilli jam a few weeks back to see how it went - fine, except the pectin in the jam sugar meant my poor jam was a little harder than anticipated and subsequently requires heating before using otherwise it is impossible to use. Nevermind! It was my first attempt. This time, I decided I was going to go for the whole hog and cook up two delicious chutneys in one day. The recipe for the second one shall be done at a later date I promise, but it smells delicious.
Round one of chutney making kicked off with a fabulous caramelised balsamic onion chutney which (as far as I can tell so far) is to die for.
You're going to need:
- 6 large onions chopped as little or as large as you like.
- 250ml balsamic vinegar
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 250g sugar (I used 185g dark muscovado sugar and then the rest demerera)
- 7cm stick of cinnamon
- A couple of torn bay leaves
- One chilli, deseeded and chopped
- One pepper - charred, deseeded and chopped (I used two halves).
- Oil for cooking the onions in.
It's super simple to make and I imagine after a few weeks maturing it's going to taste just delicious. Finely chop the onions as little or as large as you like, it depends on whether you prefer a chunkier chutney or something a little smoother. I tend to cry a lot when chopping onions so it helps to break them down a little with a mandolin and also to have someone else chop them (above) - thank you mother.
Add the onions to a large pan and add a little oil and fry off on a very low light. Keep stirring and add the cinnamon and bay leaves. Cook until soft, golden, and sweet. The time for this depends on how large you cut your onions. Since mine were quite large it took quite a long time - an hour or so.
Add the chilli and peppers and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Add the vinegar and sugar and bring it to the boil - it will smell quite heavily of vinegar (not surprising given the amount actually put in) but it'll gradually cook down. Once brought to the boil, turn to a simmer and leave for an hour and a half to two hours until sticky.
Transfer to sterilised jars (hot) and cover with a layer of cling film. Allow to cool and then put on the lid. All done!
Transfer to a cool, dark place and let it mature for a month or two before enjoying. Since I've made these for Christmas they'll have 4 weeks to mature before I'll be tucking into them with mature Cheddar, Stilton, and other various (yummy) cheeses!