Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chili Cherry Chutney

There are literally an infinite numbers of chutney recipes. You can pretty much do anything with a chutney you'd like.

Now, some chutney enthusiasts insist on a few certain ingredients and a specific way of making said chutney.

This. Recipe. Is. NOT. For. Those. Folks.

This is one you can make easily and only has a few things in it. I came up with it after we came back from Belair with 2.5 kilos of fresh, wild, tart, just barely ripe cherries. I was planning on making cherry syrup and cherry jam only. However, I kept back a couple of ladles of the syrup to experiment with... This was then born:

Dingo Dave's Excellent Chilli Cherry Chutney.

I've reconfigured the amounts --are YOU really gonna have access to five and a half pounds of cherries? Thought not. This should be sufficient make a chutney that'll fill a small salsa sized jar, about two cups.

Here's what you need:

200 grams fresh, tart cherries
1 cup of raw sugar
2 to 4 cups water
1 or 2 fresh Thai chilli peppers (them little, red, skinny ones that are about 2 inches long and are really really really hot)
small handful of finely minced onion
1 clove of crushed garlic (or 1 tsp of prepared garlic)

Here's what you do:

Give the cherries a good rinse and remove the stems. Give each cherry a quick slice partway through --don't pit them, just give each one a little slice so that as they cook all the cherry goodness is released.

Put the cherries and the sugar in a stainless steel saucepan and then add enough water to cover the cherries plus about an extra inch of water for cooking down.

Cover the saucepan and put it on low heat. Give it a stir every 5 minutes of so. If the water has cooked down the the cherries haven't turned to pulp, then just add a bit more water. This'll take 20 to 40 mins depending on your stove-top. You should end up with around 2 cups of really good tasting cherry syrup.

Now you get to strain it! This is a lot easier than you think. Pour the liquid, pulp, and pits into a fine metal seive --Ummmmm,make sure it's over a bowl cus the syrup in what you want! Now instead of trying to use a spatula or spoon, just put your fingertips into the pulp and pits and start stirring it around in the seive with your fingertips juuuuuust grazing the seive. Waa-La! 20 seconds later all the syrup is extracted from the pulp and pits.

This cherry syrup also makes a great ice cream topping, but we're gonna add some goodies to it!

Slice each chili pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (but don't toss them out). Finely mince the chilli pepper flesh and then add them and the whole seeds to the cherry syrup. Add the minced onion and the garlic. Give it a good stir and let it sit while you sterilise your jar and lid.

I usually just use boiling water to sterilise my storage jars. It's, ummmm, not difficult.

Once the jar (and lid) have been out of the boiling water long enough for you to handle the glass with your hands (but still pretty warm), it's then a good time to pour the chutney in. Make sure you seal the jar tightly!

In about 30 minutes the sealed jar should be cool enough to put in the fridge --NOTE: if you are doing this in the aussie summer heat you'll put it in the fridge but if you are anywhere else just put in it your pantry.

Put it waaaaaaaay in the back and forget about it for a month.

After a month, this will taste soooooo good! You can dip crackers in it, potato chips, pappadams, corn chips or whatever. Pour it onto your morning toast! Guaranteed to wake you up.

Once you've opened it, then make sure you refrigerate it (if you don't polish the whole thing off in one sitting.

It also makes a great marinade for roasts, chickens, lamb, fish, whatever. Just remember to keep it covered in the cus the sugar will caramelise and you don't want it to burn.


1 comment:

gemma said...

Hey Dave,

I have made a similar chutney the last two Christmasses to add to the festive table, designed to go with the roasted bird.

We usually do turkey; that's my aunty's department, but being Australian, serve it sliced cold. I wanted to add a bit of a kick to the traditional cranberry sauce.

I was trying to find a locally grown subsitute for the cranberries, and the chillies and cheeries presented themselves to me at the local growers market. I thnk if you buy seconds you can save money, and i go for the very ripe ones, unlike your recipe, which calls for tart ones, because i liked the heavy colour & sugary syrupy quality they give. But i can see the merit of going for the less ripe ones. it makes sense.

I really want to experiment with different birds too, i think that fruit & spice go hand in hand with white meats and i wonder if you might know of any "bush tucker" birds or have nay ideas that would give an Australian angle to the Christmas table?

Since then I make it every year.

I just googled chili cherry chutney to see if anyone else knows the joy of it ... it seems you do!

I am thinking about adding some fresh green coriander seeds to this year's batch; as we have some corianders that have just bolted to seed in the garden, and the green seeds are like little bursting flavor-bombs.

Cheers & merry 'mas.

djembeh gemma