Hot chilli chutney

For all you fans out there of spicy chutney, this is an especially good recipe, combining the sweetness of the apples with a hot after-kick from the chilli. It creates a warming mouthful that’s perfect with cheese, cold meats, sausages and any hot dishes that are crying out for a bit of spicing. There are a lot of hot fresh chillies in the recipe, so take great care when preparing them (see the Tips below). However, the heat comes mainly from the chilli powder, and develops during the maturing period, so if you are nervous that it may be too hot, cut down on the amount of chilli powder. Make a smaller batch with half the quantities if you want to test the recipe. You should also keep the chutney away from children – it’s deceptively mild at first taste, but the heat just keeps on growing.

You will need:

  • 1.8-2kg cooking apples, peeled cored and finely chopped (weighed after preparation)
  • 900g onions, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced (weighed after preparation)
  • 300g sultanas
  • 250ml cider vinegar
  • 250ml wine vinegar
  • 550g Demerara sugar
  • 200g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp hot chilli powder
  • 15 fresh red chillies – Scotch bonnet or other hot variety
  • 2tsp turmeric

Makes 8 or 9 x 250g jars.

  1. Grease the base of a large pan (at least 30cm in diameter) lightly with oil or butter. Add the prepared root ginger and garlic plus the hot chilli powder, then the prepared onions and prepared apples plus the sultanas and vinegar. Bring to the boil, simmer gently and steadily for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples and onions are thoroughly softened. (You can shorten the time if the apple/onion soften before then.)

  2. Add the sugar and stir, over a low heat, until all the sugar has dissolved. Simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes when it will start to become thicker and pulpy. Stir frequently towards the end of the cooking time. It will take about 90 minutes at this stage.

  3. Halve the chillies and remove the seeds, then slice them finely. Either use latex gloves or always wash your hands with soapy water immediately after handling chillies and do not touch your face, eyes or mouth.

  4. Add the chillies to the pan and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until no excess liquid remains. Test on a plate to make sure no liquid seeps out. This tells you the chutney is ready.

  5. Stir in the turmeric. Use a large spoon and funnel to add the chutney to warmed sterilised jars. Remove any air bubbles that form in the jars using a skewer or the long handle of a spoon. Cover with a lid and seal immediately. Spoon some into a small jar to use to test the taste over time.

  6. Leave to cool. Label the jars and store in a cool dark place. Leave to mature for at least 2-3 months before eating. Use within 2 years of making. Once open, store in the refrigerator and use within 6 weeks.

Chilli chutney tips: • Use a mezzaluna, or similar, chopper for best results when chopping the peeled garlic and fresh ginger. • The fresh chillies are used more for effect than the heat or flavour. Chop them finely so they float through.

With thanks to West Ealing Neighbours for sharing the recipe

Diane Gill