Christmas Chutney

Well, it’s that time of year that I’m making my favourite caramelised red onion chutney, which makes a convenient and very cheap Christmas present as well as being delicious with cheese!

I’ve used this recipe from BBC Good Food website, but added a few twists to spice it up a bit…

You’ll need:

  • 8 red onions
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 150ml balsamic vinegar
  • 150ml red wine vinegar

– I usually double this amount when I’m making it, as I like to make a large batch at once if it’s for gifts at Christmas time. Double the amount above usually makes about 8 standard  (small-medium sized) jam jars.

I also add a good squeeze of tomato paste/concentrate, and a couple of teaspoons of wholegrain mustard. I also crank up the chilli by adding some extra chilli powder to give it a spicier kick, but that’s optional. You can also experiment by adding some garlic, as well as seasoning with salt and pepper.


  1. Cut your onions and chilli into short, thin slices and put them into a pan with the bay leaves and oil. Cook gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes. It looks like a lot, but will reduce by about half by the time it’s done.


2, Once the onions are dark and sticky, add the sugar and the vinegars and simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the chutney is thick and dark. (When I double the recipe, I find you have to simmer it for closer to an hour – until most of the liquid has boiled off and reduced into a nice thick sauce – it will thicken when it cools, but you want it to be nice and thick first, not too runny)


3. Meanwhile, sterilise your jam jars by washing them thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse them well, and then place them on a baking sheet in the oven at around 140c – more info on sterilising your jars here.


4. Pour the chutney into the hot, sterilised jars and let it cool. Try to push down with a spoon to remove any air bubbles, and if you have them, cover the top with a wax disc before you close the lids.


Ideally, you should leave it for a month or more before you eat it, to mature in flavour.

As it’s home-made, there’s no hard rule on sell-by dates, but at a guess I would estimate it should be good for at least 6 months, if not longer, although once opened, probably try to eat it within about 4 weeks.

Now, giving someone a pre-used jam-jar full of dark brown stuff isn’t always very appealing, so I usually try and spruce mine up with some labels and gingham cloth covers – you can get these very cheaply online, and they do make a big difference! Presentation is everything….

From this….


To this…






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