Friday, 20 December 2013

Sluttishly Savoury: Red Onion Chutney

This is a very selfish chutney recipe. You're probably reading this thinking it's too late to make this for Christmas. It's no good for a Christmas present if you have to tell someone they can't eat it yet. And you'd be absolutely right. But it's not meant to be ready in time for Christmas. I'm not making it for anyone else. I'm making it just for me. I'm making it now so that when I get home from the holidays, to an empty flat and a Tivo full of trashy telly, it's all mine. It's going in a toastie with a shitload of goats cheese and I can't wait.

Merry weird-but-brilliant-bit-after-Christmas, everyone.

Red onion chutney.
Makes one small Kilner jar but does scale up easily.

You'll need:
  • 6 red onions. Or eight of those small ones.
  • Olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced. Totally up to you if you leave the chilli seeds in.
  • 2 star anise
  • 220g brown sugar (I used demerara)
  • 125g balsamic vinegar
  • 150g red wine vinegar
  • Splash of mulled wine syrup. This is totally optional, but there was a bottle next to the hob and I figured why the hell not? Turns out it was a great idea, if only to fight the acrid vinegar smell filling my tiny kitchen.
Make it!
  1. Slice your onions as thinly as possible. Ignore that the more you slice, the thicker they're getting because you're sobbing and trying to remember that shutting your eyes while holding a sharp knife is really stupid.
  2. Fry your onions on a low heat in a deep pan with the bay leaves, star anise and chilli for about twenty minutes, until everything is softened and smelling brilliant.
  3. I'm really sorry about what's about to happen next.
  4. Pour in the vinegars and sugar. Stir about a bit. Realise just how vile everything smells and leave the kitchen. It's going to be like that for the next thirty minutes. It sucks. Vinegar isn't bloody festive, it's horrible. But it will make your chutney brilliant and you can't make it without.
  5. After about half an hour, your chutney will be dark and thickening and getting sticky. Once it looks like it's about to turn to caramel, take it off the heat and transfer into a sterilised jar.
  6. Go on holiday! Go do Christmassy things! Forget you made chutney at all! Your chutney won't be ready for a few weeks yet (it will already taste good but get better the longer you leave it).
  7. Then one day when you've got the flat to yourself and all of the parties and exhausting festive silliness is over, smear all over bread and melted cheese.

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