On the Sixth Day of Christmas, The Country Kitchen made for me… Organic Spiced Apple, Cranberry and Caramelized Red Onion Chutney
After the feasting of Christmas Day, I always find that my fridge is loaded full of left over cuts of meat, vegetables, sauces and cheeses. So, for a good week after Christmas, I find myself eating nothing but cold cuts of meat for lunch and dinner, and this year I wanted to have something a little different to go with this as opposed to the usual mustards or tomato chutneys.
For ages I have wanted to try out a recipe I was given for ‘Chutney for Christmas’, and this year I finally got around to doing it. I’m not one to stray from a recipe usually, but I did make quite a few adjustments to this one as I wanted it to taste extra special and Christmassy. That’s not to say the recipe I was given wasn’t great, it was really very good, but I felt it needed a little bit of a lift. So, out came my spice rack and my mother’s old baking books on jams, preserves and chutneys, which I scanned through for what seemed like hours, until I found some inspiration and handy tips on chutney making.
Because the main ingredient in this chutney was apples, which I had hand-picked and washed myself, I decided that regular distilled malt vinegar as my recipe called for just wouldn’t do. Instead, I opted for a gorgeous organic apple cider vinegar from Aspall, as I have cooked with this before and found the taste of this brings out so much more flavour in finished dishes. So, I thought to myself, if it works while cooking a main meal what’s to say it won’t work in a chutney?
I also upped the amount of spices that went in, adding in cumin seeds which I ground up in my pestle and mortar, as well as smoked sea salt flakes instead of plain salt. Just by adding an extra few teaspoons of the spices and using fresh cumin seeds created such a warmth and depth of flavour to the chutney. But don’t worry if you don’t have fresh cumin seeds, you can always substitute it with ground cumin, juts use half the amount as pre-ground is much more pungent.
Another thing I did was to caramelize my red onions before adding to the rest of my ingredients. I love caramelized onions, they are just the most delicious things ever. Hats off to whoever came up with this, very well done! Here is a great recipe I have used before should you want to make them sometime. Anyway, back to the chutney…
This Organic Spiced Apple, Cranberry and Caramelized Red Onion Chutney tastes delicious with absolutely everything. Ham, turkey, duck, goose, lamb and even chicken… you really can’t go wrong with this recipe! In fact, when I first made this I had to make another batch, as I literally ended up eating about half of it before I had even got it into the jars. Honestly, I’m not exaggerating, it tasted that good!
Another reason why I love this chutney is because by using apple cider vinegar instead of malt vinegar, it is high in antioxidants, which is actually one of the reasons why we eat cold meat and chutney together in the first place. The purpose of eating chutney with meat is to aid digestion, while eating something that tastes good at the same time!
I had such fun making this, and loved how colourful it was in my stockpot. The bright red cranberries looked like rubies bursting out from a bowl of diamonds, as the white of the apple covered in sugar was glittering as I stirred it! I know that sounds totally silly, comparing ingredients to gemstones, but that’s honestly what they reminded me of!
See, rubies and diamonds! Cooking isn’t just about making something that looks and tastes good, it’s about letting your imagination run away with you every once in a while…
When I made this chutney, I got about 10 jars weighing 340g out of the recipe below. If you are only planning on making a couple of jars or so, I recommend halving the amounts I used, unless you are planning on using very big jars!
Organic Spiced Apple, Cranberry and Caramelized Red Onion Chutney
by The Country Kitchen
- 2kg Organic Apples, peeled and cored weight
- x3 Red Onions
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 teaspoons Caster Sugar
- 800g Dried Cranberries, unsweetened
- 400g Caster Sugar
- 200g Demerara Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Smoked Sea Salt
- 2 tablespoons Cumin Seeds
- 1 tablespoon Ground Coriander
- 1 tablespoon Turmeric
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
- 1 litre Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Begin by peeling and coring the apples, then place in a bowl of cold water with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice to stop them browning.
- Chop the onions into small chunks and melt the olive oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the 2 teaspoons of caster sugar. Cook over a low heat until the onion has a thin caramel coating, then set aside and measure out the rest of the ingredients.
- Grind the cumin seeds using a pestle and mortar, or use 1 tablespoon of ground cumin in place of the seeds.
- Drain the apples and place in a heavy based saucepan or stock pot. Add the cranberries, red onion, sugar, salt and spices and mix everything together well with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Once everything is combined and covered evenly with the sugar and spices, pour in the apple cider vinegar. Give everything a good stir up, making sure all the ingredients are coated.
- Bring the chutney to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, then turn the heat down so it is just bubbling. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, keeping the lid off so the mixture can ‘breath’. Once it has thickened, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook for another 2 hours, stirring often to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The chutney is ready when it is a deep reddish-brown colour and well thickened, and you can stir it without it falling back in on itself after the spoon has left the mixture.
- While the chutney is cooking, wash and sterilise your jars and lids, then place upside-down in an oven at 140°C for 10 minutes, or until dry.
- Remove the jars from the oven and fill with the hot chutney, screwing the lids on tightly so they stay sealed and air tight. Leave to cool before decorating with labels and lid covers, and store in a cool, dark place.
Well everyone, what excuses can you give me as to why not to make this chutney? Maybe you missed that bit I put earlier about having to make a whole other batch as I ate so much of the first lot before it was even in the jars… My will power is obviously not great!
I think this chutney is too good just for Christmas, so I will be making even more of this very soon just so I have a couple of jars ready to dive into at any moment. You never know when those Sunday roast leftovers or lunchtime sandwiches might want a bit of excitement – as the Galaxy advert says, “Why have cotton when you can have silk?”
Happy Baking x