I know it’s approaching Christmas when I start to think about the things I’m going to put in a jar and lock away for a month or so.
I’m not the kind of person who makes things to give away as Christmas gifts. Not that I’m against this sort of giving as I for one absolutely love to receive homemade food gifts, but I am abbsolutely worthless gift-giver. I’m lazy. I’m the guy that buys you the gift card. Yes. Me. It is I.
But there is something about a homemade condiment hanging about in the pantry or fridge that just feels like Christmas.
Whether it’s my mothers Chili Jam, my best friends Pickles or my Pickled Red Cabbage (recipe soon… I think…) there is always a welcome embrace from homemade condiments that just encapsulates the Christmas season for all of it’s generous splendor.
Now I’ve had the recipe for this particular chutney nestled away on my mobile phone for quite some time – as a lot of my recipes begin. It began as some kind of pineapple relish idea when I wanted something insanely sweet to balance out a salty burger recipe I wanted to try. The burger never materialised… but I could never quite erase the pineapple idea from my notes.
There’s something about a pineapple chutney that just made total sense for Christmas. Think of the pineapple and cheese pairing that just summarises 90’s children ‘town hall’ Christmas parties. Think of pineapple rings draped sloppily over glazed hams. The tropical sweet notes suddenly take on a warm, balancing act and everything just feels right? Right…?
So I have produced this recipe now so that it will mature in time for Christmas when I can click open the chutney with proud smugness. Slathering it over crackers and cheese, pouring it over leftover turkey sandwiches and even have it dolloped alongside any curries that take place over the New Year.
The pineapple sweetness is definitely balanced out with the plethora of deep, heady spices as well as a throat warming but not too violent breath of chili.
And yes I use canned pineapple. We can go into the pure filth of it all and how a fresh pineapple would probably have been better, yeah yeah yeah, sounds great but I used canned here and it worked a wonder for me. Are we done with that? Good. Now let’s get to chutney-ing.
Finely chop up one red onion, two cloves of garlic, a thumb sized piece of ginger and one, long red chili – keep the seeds in.
Chop them up as fine as your laziness will allow but I will say, when I finished this recipe I realised I could’ve chopped them slightly smaller and ended up hacking away at the pan with a scissors. SHRUGS. So go for it.
You could blitz all four in a food processor, I wouldn’t judge you at all. I just didn’t want any extra washing up.
Heat a little olive oil in your largest pan, toss in all four ingredients, add some salt and cook gently.
Now get yourself 800g of pineapple. Get to that stage however you want (fresh v can – see above!) but if you’re going for cans, that’s roughly 3 or 4 drained cans. Save the pineapple juice. I have a cocktail recipe coming for it soon…
Finely chop up all that pineapple… it’s a lot, get a big chopping board or blitz in a processor… and fling into the big pan.
Get the pineapple sizzling alongside the oniony mix while you get your spices.
In a pestle and mortar, combine some salt, black pepper, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of mustard powder, a pinch of coriander seeds, a pinch of ground cloves, quarter of a teaspoon of chili powder and quarter of a teaspoon of garlic powder.
Grind everything together as best as you can to create a heady, festive scent.
Now in the pan of chili, add roughly 200g of golden sultanas and stir.
Throw in the spice mix followed by half a teaspoon of ground turmeric. I add this separately because I don’t want to stain my pestle and mortar…
Now in a jug combine 250ml of apple cider vinegar with 100ml of water and pour into the pan and stir.
Bring everything to a bubble, clamp on a lid, drop to a simmer and let bubble gently away for 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid and allow to stand for about 10 minutes or so.
Now spoon the chutney into clean, warm, sterilised jars and then seal with their lids. Leave them to cool completely and then chuck them in the fridge.
They’ll taste better in a months time and will keep for about a month after you open it.
Slather it on everything.