Monday, 3 December 2012

Apple & Old Peculier ale winter chutney - Christmas gifts vol. 8

Yes, it is this time of the year already. If you are keen on making your own Xmas gifts for foodies please fell free to see all my posts from my culinary gifts section, as there are some more chutneys (unfortunately seasonal) and different types of shortbread etc.

This year I made my first chutney using one of my favourite ales from local brewery. You can use different ale, preferably strong, dark and with fruity notes like the Old Peculier.

This is an ideal gift for cheese lovers, I can't wait to try it when it will be matured but even hot and straight from a pan it wasn't too vinegary in flavour.

Please have a piece of gauze and string ready - this is needed if you want to infuse the chutney with spices and remove them before putting in the jars - eating whole peppercorns could be rather unpleasant, so please prevent it if you can. 

makes 5 jars, each about 200ml 

1½ kg apples
3 medium white onions
100g  currants
50g sultanas
1 pint of Old Peculier Ale
1½ cup of dark, soft sugar
1 cup of cider vinegar
1 tsp of whole coriander seeds
½ tsp of whole black peppercorns
½ tsp of ground cinnamon 
half star anise
¼ tsp chilli flakes

Place sultanas and currants in a bowl and cover with ale. Leave it to soak for at least 1 hour.

Place coriander seeds, peppercorns in a mortar and crush them slightly. They don't want to be very fine. Place onto a piece of gauze and add chilli flakes, star anise and tie with a piece of string. Set aside.

Peel the core the apples and then dice into about 0.5 cm pieces. Place in a large pan, preferably heavy bottom one. 

Peel the onions and dice into small pieces. Add to the pan with the apples. 

To the pan add the sugar, ground cinnamon, vinegar, remaining ale and soaked currants and sultanas. Add the bag with spices and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for about 2½ - 3 hours, stirring occasionally. 

Most of the liquid should evaporate and apples should be very soft. If you wish to have less chunkier chutney use potato masher and roughly mash the chutney after removing the spices in the bag. Or you can leave it as chunky - texture really depends on the variety of apples you are using. 

Place hot chutney in the sterilised jars, seal and turn up side down and leave them to cool down. You can pasteurise it of you wish to keep it for longer than 6 months. To do so place clean kitchen cloth in a pan together with the jars - up side down and cover half way with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Leave it to cool down, remove from a pan, dry and store in dark, cool place.

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