may 28, 2020
Vidalia onions, those paper-skinned squatty sweet onions from Georgia, are back for a limited time. Eat them raw (they’re so mild you won’t suffer from onion after effects) while you can. Use this easy chutney recipe for preserving their goodness for months to come. You’ll dream of late spring when you slather it atop your grilled burgers in summer, your roasted vegetables in fall and your bean soups in cold weather months.
Chutney makes a great present for dinner hosts, one of those always-welcome little fridge jars that make you feel extra special when noshing on something mundane like cheese and crackers. A tiny dollop of sweet and sour onion chutney on that cracker and you’re snacking in style. The recipe only makes a little over one cup, so choose your recipients wisely and make sure you’re top of the list.
I can see this vegan treat topping flatbreads smeared with generous servings of Smoky Vegan Cashew Cheese or crowning pretty Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Apricots. Goat cheese, with its sour tang, would benefit from the balance of this sweet onion chutney —imagine the pairing with Dilled Veggie Goat Cheese Spread and some rustic bread or crisp slices of apple.
When measuring the chopped onion for this recipe, what appears to be a huge pile will cook down to a manageable amount of chutney. Pot size and type are important considerations. The addition of vinegar means you’ll want a heavy stainless pan or enameled pot and the onions should be at a depth of about two inches; spread too thinly, they risk burning as they cook to a golden state. After adding the sugars and vinegars, cook another 20 minutes or so. If you desire a little more sweet or sour, make those changes near the end and cook a little longer. For preserving, no need for canning procedures since the classic cooked chutney team of sugar and vinegar keeps out bacterial contamination. One important caveat : you must use a clean spoon to remove your portions since anything else on that spoon (food, oils, dairy, your mouth!) can lead to spoilage.
Late spring into early summer means Vidalia onions are in season. Two springs back I wrote about a quick and easy Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette. If you’re a regular reader of these recipes, you’ll note I call for sweet onions whenever cooking is to be done; red onions and shallots are great raw, as is the Vidalia. Sweet onions are more tender and impart less of the harshness of yellow or white onion. Feel free to substitute what you possess for all my cooked dishes, but for this savory chutney, don’t skip the Vidalias.
Vidalia Onion Chutney
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about 1 ¼ cups chutney
6 cups fine dice Vidalia onion (about 1 pound 12 ounces peeled onions)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons neutral oil like canola or grapeseed
½ cup packed light brown sugar
small pinch crushed red pepper
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Toss onions with salt and oil in heavy saucepan or enameled pot (onions should be depth of about 2 inches and not spread thinly in pan – crowding prevents burning) over medium high heat, then reduce to medium when mixture sizzles, stirring.
- Maintain medium low to medium heat until onions begin to turn light golden, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently and adjusting heat to prevent burning.
- Deglaze with vinegars then add crushed red pepper and brown sugar, stirring well.
- Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until chutney is dark and thickened.
- Adjust for sweetness and tartness about 10 minutes before done time, adding small amount sugar or vinegar to taste.
- Chutney thickens on cooling.
- When completely cool, pack in glass or stainless container and store tightly covered in the fridge up to 6 months, using very clean spoon for removing portions.