This apple and caramelized onion chutney has become a family favorite.
I didn’t grow up with chutney, but have come to love it as an adult. Enjoying chutney served in Indian restaurants was my first step. Then I bought chutney in jars to eat with home-cooked meals, and now I’ve moved onto homemade versions – definitely the best!
My first effort was a traditional tomato chutney from Madhur Jaffrey, whose Indian recipes (and cookbooks) are out-of-this-world. Encouraged by how wonderful fresh chutney tastes, how little effort it takes, and how versatile it can be, I ventured into new ingredients and combinations. Soon, I was using chutney in the most unexpected ways.
Re-reading that first paragraph makes me smile. It almost sounds as if I’m describing my spiral from a gateway drug to addiction. Of course that’s not true; this delightful condiment may be hard to resist, but it’s hardly illicit or problematic. So don’t worry – I won’t lead you down a garden path to doom.
In any event, you can tell why, when our host, Liz, chose apples for this month’s Progressive Eats theme, my thoughts turned to chutney.
The consistency of chutney can be as thick as jam or slightly looser, like homemade cranberry sauce. It need not be incredibly spicy, but it shouldn’t be sweet.
What is Chutney?
My favorite chutneys use a variety of ingredients to provide a flavor best described as complex – aromatic and a bit sweet, with a spicy edge. The spices should meld together so that you probably can’t discern what each one adds, but you can definitely tell that there are several in the mix.
This apple and caramelized onion chutney combines elements of a traditional chutney with two of my favorite ingredients not typically found in chutney: slowly caramelized onions and spicy Dijon mustard.
The inspiration for it was a mango chutney from Epicurious, reprinted from a book on small batch preserving by two Canadian home economists. Although the authors of that recipe sound less like Southeast Asian food experts than home ec teachers from a Simpsons’ episode, they created a nice sweet-and-spicy combination that I tried to replicate with different ingredients.
Tart apples and slowly caramelized onions are a match made in heaven. Add mustard and the spicy notes from curry and you’ve got a condiment that is irresistible in my book. I like this chutney with brie cheese on bread, or with poached or simply sautéed chicken or fish.
What is Curry Powder?
Curry powder is not a single spice, but a combination of many – and which spices are contained in any particular curry and how hot the curry makes your food make all the difference in the taste of the dish. I used a half-and-half combination of Sharwood’s mild and hot curry powders in this chutney. That particular brand contains many spices in both the mild and hot versions: coriander, turmeric fenugreek, cumin, mustard powder, red pepper, salt, cayenne, garlic, cinnamon, clove and ginger as well as onion and fennel.
Some day I’ll make my own curry powder, but in the meantime, this serves quite well. Test your curry powder by sprinkling a bit in plain yogurt and tasting it. If it’s not hot enough for you, add a bit of cayenne or chile flakes.
How to Make Apple and Carmelized Onion Chutney
The process of making this apple and caramelized onion chutney is simple.
First you caramelize the onions.
When they are done, toss the onions in a large pot and add chopped apples, sugar and apple cider vinegar.
Then mix them up all those ingredients and bring them to a boil.
Let them simmer.
And just before the chutney finishes cooking, add the spices and lemon juice.
To see how easy this recipe is to make, check out the video:
Apple and Caramelized Onion Chutney
- 1 pound onions quartered and thinly sliced, 2-3 medium
- 2 tablespoons oil or butter or a combination
- 1 pound tart apples such as Granny Smiths (2-3 medium), peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grated or finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Caramelize the onions in the fat (oil, butter or combination). Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of the cider vinegar and pour the onions and the deglazing liquid into a large, heavy enamel or stainless steel pot.
Add the apples, sugar, ginger, and the rest of the cider vinegar. Mix all the ingredients and bring them to a rolling boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Add the lemon juice, curry powder, alt, cinnamon and Dijon mustard. Raise the heat slightly and continue cooking at a high simmer for another 5 minutes.
Let the mixture cool before putting in an airtight container. The mixture should be kept refrigerated and is best eaten cold. Will last for weeks (or longer) refrigerated.
The apple and onion pieces will not generally get smaller during cooking, though the apples do soften and a few may break up as you stir the chutney. If you prefer your chutney smooth, chop the apple and onion into smaller pieces. Do not use a cast iron pot (except one that is enamel-coated) after you mix in the vinegar. Cast iron does not react well to acidic ingredients.
The preparation time does not include time for chilling the chutney. It should chill down in the refrigerator after 1-2 hours if you use a wide, low container.
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- Apple Butter Coffee Cake from Pastry Chef Online
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- Apple Streusel Cake with Yogurt Cream (Gluten-Free) from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Homemade Pink Applesauce (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Hubba Hubba Apple Cake from The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine
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Progressive Eats is our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. As I’ve already mentioned, this month’s theme is a Kebab Fest. We are hosted by Liz Berg who blogs at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. We hope you’ll join us and make something unique and delicious inspired by our kebab theme.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, the host for the month choses a theme. Then members take the theme and run with it, sharing recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party. You can hop from blog to blog to check them out.