We stayed with friends back in February, who fed us some absolutely amazing homemade apple chutney for lunch. Even though I don't get through a lot of chutney, this one was so delicious that I asked for the recipe.
What I got was a story.
One of my friend's friends always won the chutney competition at her local W.I., but refused to share her recipe with anyone over the years. My friend pointed out repeatedly (and hopefully tactfully!) over a period of time that she wasn't getting any younger, and it would be a shame if no-one else was ever able to make the chutney after she died... and eventually the lady caved in and wrote out the recipe for her!
So without further ado, here is a prize-winning, secret recipe for apple chutney for which I claim absolutely no credit at all. (But which I did make at the weekend, and which I've written up according to what I did, rather than the somewhat shorter original instructions.)
I used apples which are sweet enough to eat from the tree; for cooking apples, you'd probably want to add a little extra sugar.
Note: the resulting chutney is very well preserved, and I'm still safely eating 2009-vintage chutney in 2013. I'm providing this information as a representation of my own experience, only; obviously I can make no guarantees for anyone else's results.
Apple Chutney (fills 5 large jam-jars)
3lb (1360g) eating apples
1lb (454g) onions
1pt (570ml) spiced vinegar
6oz (170g) sultanas
pinch of salt
¾lb (340g) sugar (half white, half brown)
- Use a bigger pan than you think you could possibly need (I barely fitted all the apples in my 26cm casserole dish).
- First, dice the apples. This recipe calls for a lot of apples, so chop them first; a little browning won't hurt. I didn't peel them, as I like the added texture of the softened apple skin (and also because I'm lazy).
- If your vinegar isn't spiced to start with, heat vinegar gently with a selection of whole spices (I used black pepper, star anise, cinnamon, coriander seed, cumin seed, and nutmeg), then strain before adding the onions.
- Chop onions and simmer in vinegar until soft.
- Once onions are soft, add the apples to the pan and cook on a low heat until the apples are tender but not mushy. The vinegar probably won't cover the apples, so put the lid on the pan for this stage to retain the moisture.
- Add the remaining ingredients, stir thoroughly, and simmer for at least two hours with the pan uncovered.
- Decant into sterilised jars (warmed with boiling water), and seal while still warm. I tend to use old jam jars, and put a sheet of waxed paper between the jar and the lid.