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Those jars of chutney

I think I said I would begin a series of posts about what to do with all those things lurking in the back of your cupboard, so I'm making a start today with chutney. Mostly because I have half a jar looking at me accusingly on my kitchen bench top. Here it is. I have just half a biggish jar here because by the time I had finished making all my other jams, chutneys and pickles I had no small jars left in which to put the last bit.

But not only do I have this jar, I also have other jars in my fridge and in my pantry either made by myself or gifted by friends - both homemade and expensively bought.

I am very bad about using it for some reason. If we have friends for dinner or lunch I always forget to put it out to go with the cheese, or the other things on offer. And I don't really make sandwiches, or even hamburgers much, so I can't use it there.

Anyway - COVID19 resolution number 1 - use up all that chutney. Not that I'm talking more than half a dozen jars here - but even that's a few too many to hoard I think..

So what can you do with it other than just eat it - well it is pretty delicious? And if you made it yourself you are probably feeling good about using up all that extra bounty from the garden - yours or somebody else's. But that was just step one.

"With smug satisfaction, you start by pairing it with the obvious, things like cheese and cold meats. Look at me, celebrating nature’s bounty. Soon you are dropping spoonfuls on the side of hot dishes, as if it was ketchup. Then you start mixing it into stews. Before you know it, you’re pouring it on to your cereal or stuffing it down the side of the sofa or smearing it on the cat." Jay Rayner - The Guardian

I'm not even that good about adding it to stews and things. I think the reason is because it's mostly not staring me in the face every time I open the fridge door, or sitting on my workbench. No it's tucked away in the dark recesses of the store cupboard. And therefore I do not think about using it. Or I do but too late in the day.

Just to recap on the 'normal' and the quick things to do with it - here are a few.

  • add it to your sausage roll mixture

  • melt it with some kind of liquid to make a glaze for roasted meats - vegetables too I guess. Even fish.

  • add a dollop to a stew or braise

  • add it to a hamburger - in fact use it instead of tomato sauce wherever you would use tomato sauce - I mean the tomato sauce or ketchup you get in bottles, not the Italian kind of tomato sauce

  • mix with yoghurt to make a dip

  • add it to a Welsh rarebit kind of topping. I found this spicy one called Chilli cheese toast, from one Cyrus Todiwala on the BBC website.

  • Spread chutney over a camembert or brie round and bake in the oven

  • There were a few salad dressings of the creamy kind that added a bit of chutney to the mix.

It was actually a bit difficult to find some more interesting things. Most of the 'what to do with leftover chutney' sites had just the obvious ones listed above. And almost always all I got when I searched was lots of recipes for making chutney - which is incredibly easy and incredibly satisfying by the way.

Anyway here is what I found. First - two variations on the the glaze theme. The Mango chutney chicken from a site called The Endless Meal was slightly different in that it put the chutney both under the skin and on top of it. Nigel Slater's Maple pork ribs with tomato chutney is not really what I was looking for as the chutney he refers to is one that he makes specifically for this dish, and doesn't bottle. But it is interesting in that he cooks his ribs in the chutney for a bit before roasting it. And I guess you could use your own ready made leftover chutney instead. It would just be a slightly different flavour.

Both worth a try though.

Then there are a couple of breads - one from James Martin (with no picture I'm afraid), called Onion chutney bread rolls and the second from a blog called The Baking Explorer called Onion chutney and cheese swirl bread. Again I'm guessing you could use any kind of chutney. Both recipes tell you how to make the chutney but it's probably easier to just use what you have got.

Then the English chef Matt Tebbutt has a dish that he calls Cheese and chutney strata which is made with stale baguettes, chutney, spinach and goat's cheese baked in the oven with a cheese sauce poured over the top. Again, you could vary this with various other vegetables or cheeses.

Donna Hay is really doing the 'add a bit of chutney' to your meat thing with her recipe, but I guess it's a good starting point for lots of other ideas. She uses naan breads and pork mince, but you could use all sort of other kind of wraps, and meat and additional things. She calls it Naan breads with mango chutney, pork, chilli and yoghurt.

The weirdest thing I found in my browsing was a recipe from Curing Comestibles who make chutneys and jams with native ingredients. I'm including it because it did sound weird, and it is pretty simple, because it's made with a cake mix, which I confess I feel a bit snobbish about. But then again I have not used a cake mix for years. Maybe they are an Ok thing to use these days. I think in my youth they would have had all sorts of undesirables in them.

But then cake is not good for you anyway. Anyway, it's called Carrot cake with chutney and the 'with' means that the cake is cooked with the chutney in the mix not as something to be served on the side afterwards. I guess it might work with a carrot cake.

And still on baking it occurred to me that a favourite recipe of mine, that I found some time ago, either in delicious or the Coles Magazine called Quince paste and cheddar cheese tarts, could be modified to be chutney and cheddar cheese tarts. They are sort of mini quiches with a bit of quince paste and cheese in the bottom. They are made with puff pastry so are really easy. When I make them, they go very fast. They are also good for using up leftover quince paste.

And finally from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's wonderful Love your Leftovers book comes a recipe for using up bits and pieces of different chutneys - to make a sauce, that will also keep for ages and that you can also hide at the back of your cupboard. I guess it's a sort of HP sauce. The recipe is not online, so I give it here.


500ml or more of leftover chutney from an assembly of jars

Salt (optional)

Sugar (optional)

White wine vinegar or cider vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

Sterilise one large (about 750ml) or two smaller (about 375ml) bottles ready for when the sauce is cooked.

Once you're satisfied that your chutneys are in good nick, use a rubber spatula to scrape every last scrap of them into a large saucepan. Stir everything together well and add enough boiling water from the kettle to create a fairly loose mixture.

Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring now and again to make sure the mix is not sticking. Taste and correct the balance of flavours by adding salt and pepper, sugar and/or vinegar not more than 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get just the balance you like.

Now purée the mixture in a blender or food processor until very smooth - you may need to do this in batches.

Return the sauce to the cleaned pan and boil for 5 minutes, again stirring so it doesn't stick and burn. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.

Pour the sauce into your sterilised bottles and seal with a vinegar proof lid. The sauce will keep for up to a year.

He suggests you can also add the remains of a jar of redcurrant jelly to the mix. Maybe mint jelly too?

Of course you can probably keep your chutney for years with no problem and just use it as it generally is in a ploughman's lunch. But that really would be a bit of a shame.

I think I might try the chicken thing.


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