This chilli chutney is a great way of savouring the warm summer flavours, long after the heat of the sun has gone and winter draws in. Seasonal eating is a way of life here and towards the end of September you get the last, and the best, of the season’s sweet red peppers and local red chillies. It does have a bite but combined with the chargrilled sweetness of red peppers, the chillies appear warm and the blend is amazing.
If you use sterilised jars, the chutney will last unopened for about two months. The perfect accompaniment to Manchego cheese and fresh bread to capture the summer warmth, and it’s great on toast with melted cheese or with a selection of sliced cold meats.
Preparation and cooking: – 60-70 minutes
8 ripe red peppers
8 fresh red chillies
2 medium onions (white or red), peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
Sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 small cinnamon stick (about 5 cm)
100g brown sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper
This makes about 500g so if you want to preserve the chutney, you will need about 3 or 4 sterilised jars, depending on size. The first step is to chargrill the peppers and chillies so place the red peppers onto a hot griddle pan or under a hot grill. Cook, turning from time to time until they are blackened all over. Add the chillies after about 5 minutes as they will cook quicker
When they are all black and blistered all over, carefully remove (you can do this as they cook) and place into a plastic bag and allow to cool
While the peppers and chillies are cooling down, prepare the other ingredients: Heat a large saucepan and add a splash of olive oil. Add your sliced onions, herbs and cinnamon stick. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook over the lowest heat, very slowly for about 20-25 minutes until your onions are soft and sticky. Stir from time to time to prevent sticking
While the onions are softening, prepare the peppers and chillies. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove from the plastic bag and peel off the blackened skins. Trim the stalks and remove the seeds and any white bits.
Finely slice or chop the chillies and peppers depending if you want the chutney to be chunky or more smooth and set aside (remember to wash your hands or even wear gloves as the chillies have a lasting effect!)
When the onions are soft, add your prepared peppers and chillies to the pan along with the vinegar and sugar. Continue to cook over a very low heat for another 20-30 minutes so the liquid reduces and you end up with a rich, dark, sticky chutney
Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, then season again if necessary.
The chutney can then be put into your sterilised jars for later use, or left to cool and then stored in the fridge if you want to use it over the next few days.
Find more Spanish recipes at Orce Serrano Hams.