In the summer of 2020, I had a lot of hot spicy chilli peppers growing on my deck. I didn’t know what to do with them, so I tried to find a recipe. I found Jamie Oliver’s Cheeky chilli-pepper chutney and tried making it. I didn’t like (a) how complicated it was (roasting the peppers didn’t go very well for me) and (b) how long it took. I have modified that recipe a lot, and I’ve written it here in a blog post so I don’t forget. I think it’s my first (and for now, only) recipe on my blog.
- 6 Red Fresno Peppers (or other hot, spicy pepper). I recommend 180g - 250g of peppers (uncooked, uncut weight)
- 1 tin of diced tomatoes (My store sells it in 14.5 oz tins, roughly 400g). You could use whole peeled tomatoes if you’re gonna use a food processor like I do.
- Olive oil (just a little for sautéeing)
- 2 medium, red onions
- Rosemary (I used 1 tsp of dried rosemary)
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 5cm stick of cinnamon
- 100g brown sugar
- 150ml balsamic vinegar
- Dice the onion
- Add a bit of olive oil to the pan and sautée the onions with the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Keep cooking until it reduces and becomes tacky.
- While the onions are cooking, I coarsely cut the peppers (1 or 2 cuts per pepper) and put them in a food processor with the tomatoes.
- Whiz the peppers and tomatoes for a few seconds on high, until you have a salsa-like texture. You want to see bits of pepper, but you want those bits pretty small.
- Add the pepper/tomato mixture to the cooking onions.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and rosemary.
- Simmer a while on low heat. Maybe 20-30 minutes. You’re trying to cook off a lot of moisture so that you’re left with a dark sludge.
- Remove the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick.
- Put the chutney into some kind of container to keep. While Jamie suggests you could use sterilised jars and keep it a couple months, that’s laughable in my house. We eat it in a matter of days.
Makes: About 350ml, or 1½ American cups
Cooking Time: Start to finish it’s probably 45-60 minutes total
A Couple Caveats
I’ve made a number of mistakes over the years, so I figure I’ll share them.
- I love cast iron. I cook this in a deep, cast-iron skillet and it works great.
- Watch the temperature. I frequently get impatient and cook the onions or the whole chutney too hot. This will get hot peppers into the air and make people gag or give it a burnt flavour that isn’t what I’m going for.
- Generally my kitchen becomes uninhabitable while making this. Use a vent, open a window, close the door to the kitchen if your kitchen has a door.
- When I work with really hot, spicy peppers, I wear gloves. I use a pandemic facemask and sometimes eye protection when I’m cooking this because the hot pepper can get airborne and everyone gets a little homemade pepper spray in the air while they wait for the chutney.