It’s St Patrick’s Day tomorrow, rivers will flow green, shamrocks will be in abundance and the world’s population of Irish will multiply by millions as so many will find an ancestor or two that hail from the Emerald Isle.
There are so many wonderful things to conjure with when one thinks of Ireland, but an ever popular image is that of Guinness, the deep, dark brew that lifts the heart of any Irishman worldwide.
I’ve decided to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a homemade Guinness Chutney.
I love making chutney. There is none of the frantic activity and anxiety that can come from those last moments of boiling up a jam and getting the right set.
With chutney making it is a simple case of letting all that goodness bubble away till it sets up all my itself. You just watch and wait and potter around the kitchen doing other stuff while time and heat work their magic on the ingredients you so thoughtfully tossed into the pan.
This was one of my ‘use it or lose it’ type recipes. A case of hauling together bits and bobs from fruit bowl, larder and fridge and hoping for the best.
It starts with an idea – Ah Guinness! and then it’s a case of casting an eye around the kitchen to see what is available. Living in the middle of nowhere means that popping out for a single ingredient would be a total waste of time and petrol, you have to make do with what you have to hand. Use up those few battered apples, that half inch of chilli pepper lurking at the bottom of the fridge alongside the mangled remains of a hunk of ginger that has seen better days but still holds a kick or two and raid the baking box for the raisins left from making all those festive treats.
This is such a simple recipe that doesn’t cost much to make but results in a few choice jars of flavour packed goodness that will kick-start the humblest of sandwiches, ramp up a plate of cold cuts or add some zing to a burger.
Ladies and gentlemen wherever you are this St Patrick’s Day I give you Guinness Chutney!
- 350g/12 oz apples (I used 4) peeled and cored
- 125g/4 oz raisins
- 1 small onion chopped
- ½ tsp chopped fresh chilli
- 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 125ml/4 fl oz white wine vinegar
- 125ml/4 fl oz Guinness
- 150g/5 oz light muscovado sugar
- Chop the peeled and cored apples into small cubes about 1cm in size and cook these along with the raisins, onion, ginger, chilli and mustard seeds until they are soft and tender.
- Don't add any water here just keep stirring, it will take about 15 minutes.
- Add the vinegar, Guinness and sugar and allow the sugar to dissolve completely.
- Raise the temperature to a boil and then lower back to a simmer.
- Let the chutney bubble away for about 2½ hours or until a wooden spoon dragged through will leave a clear trail on the bottom of the pan.
- Ladle into sterilised jars and pop on the lids.