Gingery Pear Chutney

This chutney is full of gingery warmth and fruity heat from the cayenne and pear.  You’d never know about the turnip – I promise! Chutney is a lot easier than jam, there are no setting points to worry about and this is something everyone can do.  It goes really well with the richer cold meats like duck or goose, or with good sharp cheese.

300g soft light brown sugar
2 small eating apples, grated
3 small turnips, about 500g – peeled and grated
160g diced red onion
Coarsely grated zest of 1 large orange (and its juice)
Half a tablespoon of salt
500m white wine vinegar
70g grated ginger
2 fat pinches saffron
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon tomato puree
800g peeled, cored and diced pears
100g sultanas

1) Get out your biggest saucepan, and four large jam jars with plastic-lined lids.  Put the jars (not the lids) into a warm oven, about 100 centigrade. Standing them together in a large cake tin will help you further down the line.

2) Into the pan goes the sugar, apple, turnip, onion, orange zest and juice, salt, vinegar and spices.  Bring this all to the boil and let it simmer away for half an hour until it is thickened a bit.

3) Add the tomato puree, pears and sultanas, and let it cook for about 20 minutes more.  You’re looking for two things.  First, the pear to be tender.  Second, run the flat side of your wooden spoon across the surface of the chutney to make a valley.  If it fills immediately with liquid you need to cook it a bit more.  When it takes a second or two to fill, you’re ready to go.

4) Take the jars out of the oven and fill them straight away using a large spoon.  Hold them steady with a tea towel while you screw on the lids.
Allow them to cool and then put into a dark cool cupboard.  I’d leave this a week or two before eating, but it will keep for a good 6 months.  Makes pretty good home-made Christmas presents too!

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