Beetroot Chutney

30 Jun

I like making this ahead of time, at least 3 days or so, to give the flavors time to deepen and meld. This version of beetroot chutney uses grated beetroot, onions and apples. You could cut everything into neat cubes, which may be a little more “posh”, but I like the grated, almost slaw like nature of this chutney. Its how its served in South Africa, where my mother is from, so it has echoes of home style food, bright sunshine, and seaside tang, for me.

Use the smallest beets you can find (about the size of a golfball) – these are sweetest. Feel free, as usual, to adapt — you could use molasses or maple syrup in place of the honey, different dried fruits, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, etc. This is the bones of a recipe that can adjust to what you have available, and what your tastes and flavors are. I have added a few tablespoons of elderflower cordial to this with amazing results, and have cooked it for a longer and shorter time for different flavor consistencies – a fresher summery version or a thick jammy one. The possibilities are endless, and its almost impossible to mess up!

This gorgeous fuchsia chutney is something to keep in the fridge at all times. Mix a tablespoon with a bit of mayo, and your plain cheese sandwich will be elevated to transcendent proportions. As an addition to vegetarian sausages, it adds brightness and sparkle. I am sure you will find lots of things to do with this (it makes a sensational door gift too!)

About 1 – 2 hours cooking time

  • 1 kg of beetroot, washed and peeled (reserve the leaves for another use) – approx. 4 cups, grated
  • 2 small red or yellow onions – approx. 1 cup, grated
  • 2 thumb sized pieces of fresh ginger root, grated
  • 8 – 10 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 large fuji apple, cored and peeled
  • 3 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins / mixed dried fruit
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 table spoons port wine (optional)
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 small chili, seeded  and chopped (optional – be careful of the seeds and wash your hands well after!)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of dijon or other prepared mustard

Grate the beetroot, and in a separate bowl, grate the onions, ginger and garlic together.

Heat olive oil on high heat in a large thick bottomed saucepan, and add onion mixture. Saute until the onions are translucent, making sure they do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add the beetroot, and stir well to combine. Lower heat.

Add water, and stir well, and then add red wine vinegar. Grate apple straight into this mixture and stir well.

Add raisins, spices (mustard seeds, raisins, cinnamon, cumin), port wine, sugar and chili, and stir to ensure even distribution.

Allow this mixture to cook, and thicken, about 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

While mixture is thickening, add honey and dijon, and taste for sweetness and salt. It should be a perfect balance, with the fragrance of the spices coming through, and the sharp tang of the vinegar, and the surprising hit of chili.

Cook for an additional 10 – 15 minutes until it is thickened and chutney-ish to your liking. I judge that its done when all the liquid has been incorporated into the mixture, and the rest is a thick jewel like mass, studded with mustard seed.

Leave to cool before storing.

You can jar this (sterilized jars and vinegar proof caps) and keep for up to 6 months, or cool and put in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

2 Responses to “Beetroot Chutney”

  1. Cornish Anne September 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    I have adapted this recipe using golden beetroot, it’s just yummy and thank you for the basic recipe.

    • delectableblog December 7, 2011 at 2:18 am #

      Glad you like it – must be absolutely beautiful with golden beetroot!

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