I clearly have yet to find a way of making a pan of chutney look appealing!
I wanted to make some chutney to keep my husband happy as he is a lifelong hater of all things raisin-y, including currants & sultanas, which he charmingly refers to as ‘rabbits’ (think about it… currants, mainly…).
I used Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘Glutney’ recipe as a basis for quantities & method, with a few tweaks to suit taste and what was in the store cupboard. I’ll tell you if it worked in November when we have the ceremonial opening! Unfortunately, we aren’t River Cottage, so the economy aspect of this recipe was limited, though I managed some bargain cooking apples from a resident of Lacock earlier this week, where they charmingly leave flowers (and fruit and books) on the doorsteps with an exhortation to drop £1 for charity through the letterbox. Less quaintly, I had several packs of bargain plums from Waitrose, which I thought would make a change from the usual tomato base.
I made it in two half-batches, with slightly differing spicing for each, one rather more sinus-clearingly spicy with the addition of some rather vicious hot smoked paprika. The optional items for the 2nd version are listed (in brackets).
I was feeling distinctly under the weather tonight, but had to make it as the bargain plums were not going to keep too much longer, so I hold out no great hopes for the outcome being a Masterchef contender. Having said that, the OH did test it straight from the pan and proclaim it a success, even in its unnmatured state. Job done.
Seriously spicy plum Glutney
1kg courgettes, unpeeled, cut into 1cm dice
1kg plums, stoned and chopped
1kg cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced (fairly small)
500g red onions, peeled and diced
500g chopped dates
500g dark muscovado sugar
750ml (pickling) malt vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water
1-2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
(1-2 tsp hot smoked paprika)
(1 tsp of ground coriander)
(1 tsp dried powdered ginger)
1 tsp salt
For the spice bag
1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
A few black peppercorns
6-8 cardamom pods, split open to reveal the seeds
A generous grating of nutmeg
(1 tsp yellow mustard seeds)
(1 tsp black mustard seeds)
Put the vegetables and fruit in a large, heavy-based pan with the dates, sugar, vinegar and water, smoked paprika (and optional other dried powdered spices) and salt.
Make up the spice bag by tying all the other listed spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.
Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly to ensure (well, try to ensure!) it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced, and parts to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water. (I had to add quite a bit, particularly in the wider, shallower pan in which evaporation was more rapid.)
Pot up the chutney while still warm (but not boiling hot) in sterilised jars with plastic-coated screw-top lids (essential to stop the vinegar interacting with the metal). Leave to mature for at least two weeks – ideally two months – before serving.