All year I set aside jars that we’ve emptied of their jams, olives, relishes or whatever and store them away for preserving and pickling season. By December I have more empty jars in my pantry than full, which is excellent as it means I have a stash ready to fill with Christmas presents.
This year I’ve ordered a leg of ham which will be served at brunch on Christmas Day. The best thing about Christmas ham is the sandwiches it inspires on Boxing Day. And no ham sandwich would be complete without some chutney. Our tomato plants are still a month or two off developing ripe and juicy fruit, so I went on the hunt for a chutney recipe that took advantage of other in-season fruit.
This recipe from the BBC for Fragrant Mango and Apple Chutney caught my attention as it is rated five stars by over 50 people, yet every comment complains about the inaccuracies in the recipe. It must taste amazing for all these people to rate it highly even though they fumbled through the recipe. Sounds like a challenge!
After reading through the comments I reduced the amount of liquid, increased the spices and used a different type of vinegar. I also made sure to use the widest pan I own to help the reduction process.
The ripeness of the fruit can play a part in the timing and consistency of a chutney. Less ripe mangoes will hold their shape better, giving you a chunkier consistency than ripe fruit, which will break down into a pulp while cooking. I like the idea of biting into a chunk of sweet mango along with salty ham and sharp cheddar in my sandwich, so I opted for less ripe fruit.
The cooking time I’ve included in my version of the recipe is how long it took me, but you may need to vary it depending on how ripe your fruit is (you can use frozen mango cheeks if mangoes aren’t in season where you are). The consistency you’re looking for is the apples turning to pulp, providing a base for the chunks of mango.
The recipe promises two litres of chutney, though like other commenters I found it only yielded half that. So if you’re planning on making a batch of Christmas presents, I’d double the recipe.
Bottling chutney to serve with leftovers on Boxing Day is a lovely Christmas gift in itself, or wrap it up as part of a home-made food hamper with some festive nuts and pine nut and rosemary biscuits.
This sweet, gently spiced, golden, sunshine-in-a-jar chutney will go beautifully with cold ham or turkey, but will also last up to a year in a dark corner of the pantry, so can be used as part of an Indian feast, or anything else you want to add a little kick of sweet/savouriness too.
Boxing Day Mango Chutney
Makes about 1 litre
• 1 kg (1 1/2lb) not-very ripe mangoes (about 3 large mangoes)
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil
• 2 medium brown onions, halved and thinly sliced
• Thumb-sized piece fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into thin shreds
• 10 green cardamom pods
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 tsp cumin seed
• 1 tsp coriander seed, lightly crushed
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• 500g (1lb 2oz) cooking apples (I used 3 Granny Smith apples), peeled, cored and chopped
• 200ml (6.76 fl oz) water
• 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
• 1 cup apple cider vinegar
• 400g (14oz) caster (superfine) sugar
• 1 tsp salt
Start by chopping your key ingredients so they’re ready to go when you need them: mango, apple, onion, chilli and ginger. To prepare the mango, follow these instructions from Martha.
Heat the oil in the widest pan you have. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes until starting to soften. Stir in the ginger and cook, stirring frequently, for about 8-10 mins until the onion is golden. Stir in all of the spices, except the turmeric, and fry until toasted.
Stir in the turmeric, add the apple and pour in 200ml water, then cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the mango and chilli, then cover and cook for 20 minutes more until the apple is pulpy and the mango is tender.
Pour in the vinegar, stir in the sugar and salt, then leave to simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring frequently (especially towards the end of the cooking time so that it doesn’t stick) until the mixture is pulpy rather than watery. Remove cinnamon stick and cardamom pods.
Spoon chutney into sterilised jars, seal and keep in a dark place. Jars should last for up to 1 year if unopened. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within a month.
Adapted from the BBC’s Fragrant Mango and Apple Chutney