Well, the hampers are well and truly on the go! This is my favourite time of year, if I had endless money and time I would just stay at home and make everything I saw on Pinterest and quite possibly make a career out of Christmas hampers and decorations.
I may still just do that, ha!
Red Onion chutney has featured in my hampers every year since I started making them, every year is different and this year is no exception. For one, I cannot remember for the life of me where the original recipe (from Waitrose) went and last year my uncle and aunt gave us the most battered but usable apples from their friends garden in Suffolk, so it made sense for us to use them in a chutney.
This year, I opted for a simple red onion chutney recipe:
8 red onions
1 red chilli – optional – I went without, but added a chilli oil as it was bubbling which gave it a nice, subtle kick.
2 bay leaves
25ml of olive oil
200g of brown sugar
125 ml of balsamic vinegar
125 ml of red wine vinegar
Firstly, cover your eyes. Onions are potent creatures, they will get you when you least expect it. Usually contact lenses suffice as adequate protection but the onions I used for this chutney were clearly the spawn of Satan. I wanted to rip my eyes out they stung so much! So be prepared as there are a lot of onions of chop, so ensure that your eyes are taken care of. Something like this will do:
Right, now that we’re ready you can begin to chop your onions and if you’re using it, chilli into thin slices.
Once you’ve fought that battle, place them into a large plan with the two bay leaves and oil (and any additional human tears you may have dripped onto the onions – gives it character) and gently cook for about 20 minutes.
Once the onions are soft and slightly sticky, add the sugar and vinegars and leave to boil until the chutney is thick and dark. Mine took around an hour to get to a consistency that I felt was right. I also blitzed it a little with my hand blender and it aided the thickening process. I may have added a little drizzle of red wine and of course the previously mentioned chilli oil too.
Once thickened, it should be this beautiful deep maroon ish colour. The downside is that you will smell like a burger van during the cooking process, but the end product is a lovely, sweet, caramalised onion chutney. Perfect for christmas – even without the festive edible glitter.
Cool and then pop into sterilised jars and be on your way, whether you’re giving them as gifts or whipping up a batch for your own use (I do not blame you) add cheese, an apple and you’re good to go!