Caramelized Red Onion and Apple Chutney
Thursday in Jeff’s Quarantine Kitchen…
In today’s episode I will compete my onion trilogy—caramelized red onion chutney. So far I’ve done a sweet-onion jam and a shallot marmalade. To complete the circuit, I think a chutney is called for, so here is the one I’ve chosen, mostly because this is what I have on hand. Chutneys like to have a fruit base—mango or peach or pear—but it’s not the season for those things, and I do have a bunch of Granny Smith apples in the fridge and lots of red onions, ergo…
I’ve been making chutney for several years now, and they’ve been met with some amount of positive feedback. Additionally, I really do like the flavor of sweet and savory condiments—oyster and hoisin sauces being among my favorites—and chutney is a wonderful extension of those culinary favorites.
This one is a simple spread, delicious on meats, fish, and cheeses, mixed into a savory crepe (I just got that idea the other day from a Facebook post), or just about anyplace where a flavorful dollop of goodness will make a sandwich taste better. The trick with this recipe—as with most things onion—is to go low and slow; be patient with the process. Burnt onions are no one’s favorite flavor.
So, caramelized red onion chutney with apples is just the ticket. Here’s how it goes:
4 large red onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, minced
1 fresh or 2 dried red chili peppers (I used dried Thai chilies), sliced and seeded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 bay leaves (from my very own bay laurel tree) ——- >
2 sprigs fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
A few turns or 1/4 teaspoon finely ground WHITE pepper
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1. Slice the onions and chili peppers thinly.
2. Place the olive oil, onions, apple, pepper slices, bay leaves and thyme in a large, heavy non-reactive pot and mix well to coat with the olive oil. Bring to a slow boil, then cover the pot, reduce the heat, and cook at low temperature for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes to prevent the onions from sticking. Remove the lid and cook for 30 minutes more, stirring frequently—again to prevent sticking.
3. Remove the bay leaves and the thyme stalks, and add the vinegar, sugar, white pepper, and mustard seeds; stir well to mix thoroughly, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thick, syrupy consistency.
4. Spoon into sterilized jars and lids, leaving a half-inch headspace, and remove the bubbles from the product. Either process in a water bath for 15 minutes or cool completely and refrigerate. If you process the jars in a water bath, after the 15-minute process time turn off the heat and allow the jars to sit in the water for five minutes undisturbed, then place on a wire rack or a towel and allow to sit undisturbed tor 24 hours. Canned chutney will keep about a year, but it won’t last that long.
You may be tempted to open and use the chutney immediately, but it will be much, MUCH better if you allow it to sit in storage for a month before opening. this allows the flavors to marry, and the product will be way better