Archive for Canning and Preserving

Green Tomato and Apple Chutney

As sad as I am to see Summer go, when it comes to food and cooking, Fall may be my favourite season.

You see, now is the time when when we start to think about soups, stews. Slow cooking, long braising. Pumpkins, squashes and gourds. Apples and pie. And warming spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and star anise.warming spices

These are all things that I love, that bring me comfort, make me feel loved. They are the food equivalent of my favourite hoodie, or a pair of fuzzy slippers.

I had a few green tomatoes left after my Fried Green Tomato experiment, so I started to wonder what I’d do with them. Turns out, they have tons more applications. Pickles, soup, jam and pie are all possibilities. But then I hit upon a chutney recipe, and I was sold.

green tomato and apple chutney

If you’ve not made chutney before, it’s simply a kind of savory jam that’s often served as a condiment with meat or cheese. The recipe includes some kind of vinegar, and some kind of sugar, so it creates that piquant sour/sweet push/pull on your tongue. They are usually chunkier than jams, too, so they often have some nice texture to them.

The other nice thing about a recipe like this is how adaptable it is. You don’t have to worry about being too precise with your measuring. My kinda recipe!

I served mine on a slice of baguette, topped with brie and a dollop of the chutney. It would also be amazing with pork–I’m looking forward to that pairing next.

green tomato and apple chutney 2

Green Tomato and Apple Chutney

(adapted from David Lebovitz)

Ingredients:

  •  2 large green (unripened) tomatoes, chopped into 1/2″ dice
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1/2-1 whole onion, chopped fine
  • 1″ of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods, bashed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 5 whole cloves

Method:

  1. Place the tomatoes, apples, garlic, vinegar, sugar, raisins, and mustard seeds all in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Wrap the spices in a cheesecloth and tie well, or place them in a tea ball. Drop the spices into the chutney, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the chutney to cook slowly down until it is the thickness of jam, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from the heat. Remove the spices. Allow to cool, and store in the refrigerator, or you can can according to these directions.

 

Confit Onions in the Slow Cooker

I am not a fan of raw onions. Served to me on a salad or a burger, I will pick them off. When you cook the onions, however, it’s a whole different ballgame.

Onions have lots of naturally-occurring sugars, so when you cook them down at a low heat, the most magical thing happens to them. They caramelize, and take on this gorgeous light-brown colour. They become sweet and savoury all at the same time.

confit onions

Yeah, there were a few tears this day…

I make these regularly, and keep them in my fridge. They come out and get added to grilled cheeses (my favourite), any kind of wrap or burrito, burgers, or as a garnish to a piece of baguette topped with a chunk of brie.

You can even can these and give them out as gifts.

I love doing mine in the slow cooker. It just is so easy. Slice ’em up in the food processor, add them along with a few other ingredients, and let it go. 8 hours later, voila! Perfect caramelized onions.

A quick word of warning: it’s kind of shocking how much these cook down. A slow cooker full of onions will net you a cup or two of the good stuff, but it really is a condiment, so you’ll likely only use a tablespoon or two at a time.

Slow-Cooker Confit Onions

Ingredients

  • approximately 2 lbs onions (really, any kind, although purple and Walla Walla are sweeter)
  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1-2 tbsp port wine
  • 1 tbsp sweetener–maple syrup, brown sugar or molasses
  • 1 tsp thyme, or a couple of fresh spigs

Method: 

  1. Prep the onions by halving and peeling them, then thinly slicing them into half-moon rounds. I did the slicing in the food processor, but you could also do it on a mandolin, or by hand. You will have a large pile of onions.
  2. Dump the onions, along with the rest of the ingredients, into your slow cooker, and turn it up on high. Stir everything together well.
  3. Allow to cook for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally. They onions are done when they achieve a nice caramel colour. Remove the sprig of thyme, if using. If the onions are really watery, you can take the lid off of the slow cooker and cook them for another hour or so until the water evaporates and the onions thicken. Alternatively, you can finish them in a saucepan on top of the stove, boiling them, uncovered, until you get the right consistency.
  4. Store in a jar in the fridge. My 2 lbs of onions boiled down to make enough to fill a 500-ml mason jar.

Also, check out my friend Melissa’s version of this recipe.

 

 

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