Late fall, smell of snow lingers in the air, breath becomes visible and market stalls are packed with those delicious and aromatic fruits – apples and berries. Here’s a simple apple cranberry chutney recipe to preserve them and enjoy their sweet&sourness in many dishes throughout the winter.
- 50g butter
- 500g onion
- 1.5kg apples (mixed varieties)
- 50g fresh ginger
- 400g brown sugar
- 250ml cider vinegar
- 150ml whiskey
- 500g cranberries
- 4g ground smoked pepper
- Cinnamon – a pinch (optional)
- Clove – 1 (optional)
When buying apples, try to buy an equal mix of firm and crispy ones (such as Empire, Golden Delicious or Jonagold) and soft and mushy ones (such as McIntosh or Cortland). And make sure that your favourites prevail in the mix.
Peel onions and slice them into strips, c. 3mm thick – you want them to bind the ingredients later, like small spaghetti. Melt butter in a thick bottom pan and when it gets hot add onions. Mix well and keep stirring every couple of minutes until they are nicely brown and caramelized. Should take about 45 minutes. This is the crucial step to get the aromas from the onions. You will notice brown caramel sticking to the bottom of the pan – do not worry, it will melt (deglaze) when you add other ingredients.
While the onions are caramelising, peel apples and cut into small chunks (crisp one into smaller chunks, c. 1cm, and soft, mushy ones into bigger chunks, c. 2-2.5cm). Once the onions are done, add all the other ingredients (except cranberries) and mix well. Even though the vinegar will add some pungency, the smoked pepper and whiskey will give it the final punch. Since all the alcohol will evaporate during cooking, it will also be perfectly safe to eat for kids.
Remove the lid and cook for about 1 hour over low heat until all the excess liquid evaporates. At that point add cranberries and cook for additional 15 minutes. You can add frozen cranberries and cook 5 minutes less. The cranberries should soften up, but not burst.
Serve and preserve
Once done, fill immediately into sterilised glass jars and store at a dark and cold place. Apple cranberry chutney will mature over time and reach its peak after about three weeks.
Some of my favourite combinations are with paté, foie gras, grilled sausage, cold cuts, cheese platter, grilled cheese, in a burger or on a piece of buttered toast for a lazy breakfast. Enjoy!