You need to make a jar of this asap. Because, with this caramelised onion chutney (complete with bacon, maple syrup and a hefty dose of shiraz) your boring sandwiches, wraps, burgers, barbequed meats – and pretty much anything else you would think to add a chutney to – are going to be transformed into delicious, lip-smacking, kick-ass foodie awesomeness.
True story ?
Making my own chutneys and relishes has be on the “to do list” for quite some time. And, by some time, I mean a loooooooong time. Years even. Long before I started food blogging. As a home cook who likes to make things from scratch, making my own chutneys and relishes and other associated things would seem like a natural step in my culinary adventures but, until recently, it had never happened.
I’m not sure if this has been out of laziness (a strong contender) or if my made-from-scratch pursuits have been made up of so many other things – such as perfecting the homemade loaf of bread, or creating a kick-ass spice blend, or making my own pizza, or trying desperately to try and pass myself off as a half-decent cake maker – that up until recently, the jar of my very own, homemade chutney, sitting in the door shelf of my refrigerator just waiting to be used on, and eaten with, everything has failed to make an appearance.
And then, on one hot and humid summer day in Sydney earlier this year, I had the “amazing” idea that the best thing to occupy my afternoon – and to, somehow, escape the unbearable sweat-inducing heat of the day?!? – was to stand over the stove for an hour or so making my own chutney.
My decisions in the time and place, and season, in which to make my first batch of homemade chutney may have been questionable (downright crazy, if you ask me) but the decision to actually lose my chutney-making virginity was a great one.
Because this caramelised onion chutney was the result.
And when a chutney is this good, no other chutney will do.
I didn’t follow a recipe, or even skim over other recipes just to get my head around the basic ingredient ratios and other such useful information. I sliced and diced a large amount of onions, and shed a few too many tears in the process, and proceeded to go ahead and caramelise them with nothing more than a half-hatched plan and dumb luck on my side.
It was always going to be caramelised onion chutney because I frequently bought a caramelised onion chutney with shiraz from my local store and it was so good I wanted to recreate it (I now no longer buy this chutney because, in my opinion, mine is better). But the addition of bacon came right there, standing over the stove sweating my ass off in one of the hottest and muggiest days of the summer.
The smell of the onions cooking in the butter – what a smell! – was enough to get my senses and brain working together until I had the Eureka moment: You know what will go good with this? Bacon. It seemed like a brilliant idea and it would’ve been if not for the fact that bacon makes
anything everything better!
So there I am, caramelising onions, dicing and tossing in bacon like there’s no tomorrow, and pouring in wine like I’m sort of sorcerer conjuring up an epic potion.
The rest of the ingredients came out of either necessity or through several taste test inspections. The maple syrup (a great accompaniment to the bacon, and a good alternative to regular sugar which = awesome! Have you read how much sugar some chutney recipes ask for? I’m talking up to two cups for a single jar!) would give it the sweetness, the red wine vinegar would balance out the maple syrup and give the chutney that acidic twang, and the salt and pepper were there for simple flavouring.
And what you see in these pictures is the result.
And. It. Was. Good.
Now one last little thing before I leave you with the recipe. This chutney is ready to go the moment it has cooled down and stored. Yes, you can delve in there with your spoon, your fork, your whatever, and star munching away on caramelised onion, bacon and shiraz infused goodness.
But… there’s always a but, right?
If you can summon some form of self-control, don’t eat this chutney right away. You need to let it “mature” or whatever the term is for the thing chutneys do the longer you leave them.
If you are able to gather the self-control I talk about, you want to store this chutney in a jar, place it at the back of the fridge (there is no real reason for this position other than it will be harder to see and/ or reach) and let it sit there for about a month. Three months, if you can.
Wait, what? You have to wait three months after making this chutney before you can eat it?
No, of course not. You can eat it whenever you like. But I can tell you I have eaten this chutney on the day it was made, a few weeks after, a month after, and few months after that (this chutney will keep in the fridge for a long time) and I can tell you, the flavour and the experience I had each time just got better and better.
And then, when it has “matured” feel free to slather it on whatever you want (insider’s tip: it is a perfect accompaniment for a fancy cheese and/ or antipasto platter).
Until next time foodies!
Caramelised Onion Chutney with Shiraz and Bacon
This caramelised onion chutney is going to transform your sandwiches, burgers, barbequed meats, and cheese platters into foodie awesomeness!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 to 1/2 hours
- Total Time: minute
- Yield: Roughly 2 1/2 cups
- 800g peeled brown onions, diced
- 250g bacon, diced
- 100g butter
- 250ml Shiraz (can be swapped for the red wine of your choice)
- 250ml Maple syrup – plus extra if more sweetness is required
- 1/3 cup Red wine vinegar – plus ¼ cup extra if the chutney is too sweet
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- Heat a large pan or stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the butter and melt until it begins to foam. Add the onions to the pan. Stirring occasionally, allow them to cook gently until they turn a deep golden brown colour – this should take anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes depending on how
- Add the bacon to the pan and cook for another minute or so before adding the shiraz, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, pepper and salt. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently.
- Reduce the heat to a steady simmer and allow chutney to reduce – about 20 to 30 minutes – until there is very little liquid left and the chutney is dark and thick.
- Remove from the heat and allow the chutney to cool. Perform a taste test and season with more salt or pepper if needed. Place the chutney into a sterilised jar(s) and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.