Lots of beautiful, ripe, summer cherries...more than we can possibly eat, inspired this chutney.
I made enough to fill two canning jars, plus a bit extra for us to have with our dinner.
I made grilled chicken sandwhiches, topped with the cherry chutney and some soft goat cheese...a winning combination!
I kept the chutney simple, adding red onions, fresh thyme, a cinnamon stick and some cloves. I kept the amount of sugar to a minimum, as I am not a fan of very sweet chutneys, but this can be adjusted to suit your personal taste. The flavour of the cherries came through nicely, and added natural sweetness, while the balsamic vinegar added the tartness.
Start off by cooking the onions in a bit of olive oil until they start to soften. You will need:
2 cups thinly sliced red onions
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
When the sugar has dissolved, stir in:
1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
Heat until the vinegar starts to boil.
4 cups pitted cherries
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Turn the heat down, and simmer until the cherries have softened, and the liquid is almost all gone. You should be left with a chunky, thick sauce. Remove the thyme sprigs, cinnamon stick and cloves, before canning.
- Chutney is a combination of fruit, onions, spices, sugar and vinegar that are cooked together until thickened. This allows numerous combinations...
- Most chutney recipes call for apple cider vinegar but I felt that the dark colour and richness of Balsamic vinegar would be a better choice with the cherries.
- The juice that is released from the fruit is often enough liquid, together with the vinegar. If not, add some fruit juice that would be appropriate for the fruit you are using.
- Substitute other fruit for all or part of the cherries...apples, rhubarb, peaches, plums, apricots, pears and feel free to try some combinations such as apple pear; rhubarb plum; apple peach; cherry pear.
- Experiment with spices...ginger, fresh or dried; star anise; fennel seeds; mustard seeds to name a few. Consider adding citrus zest.
- Dried fruit can be added to chutneys, for extra sweetness and chewiness.
- As I mentioned, I opted for less sugar that some people prefer. Start with less, and add more if you feel it is needed at the end.
- Chutney is great to serve with cheese or roast meats; on sandwhiches; use as a glaze when roasting a turkey or ham.