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How to make caramelised red onion chutney with wholegrain mustard. A great Christmas staple.

Updated on August 4, 2013

Pickles and chutneys are a tasty treat at any time of year.

I enjoy pickles and chutneys year round but now is the time of year (November) when I start thinking about making some special pickles and chutneys to use at Christmas time. Homemade chutneys are a lot cheaper and in my opinion a whole lot tastier than the shop bought variety, you know exactly what goes into them too, which is great if you are a vegetarian like me. All too often I have found hidden meat products in things like preserves.

Red onions tend to be sweeter than the white variety and so lend themselves to pickles really well. They are high in flavonoids (vitamine P) a known anti oxidant, flavonoids have also been put forward as having possible anti inflammatory properties too. So not only does this chutney taste good but it might just do you good too.

Cold, dark winter nights make me crave warming spicy foods and this lovely caramalised red onion chutney recipe really hits the spot. It's got just the right amount of spicy heat, tasty, without being so hot that it overpowers the flavour of everything else. In my mind there's nothing worse than a chutney that smothers instead of complimenting food.

This great tasting caramelised red onion chutney goes really well with cheese, cold meats, pies,sausages - just about anything can be perked up with it. I have made large batches of this and given it as gifts at Christmas, it's cheap and quick and easy to make and in my experience people really do appreciate something tasty and homemade. Cut out rounds of pretty fabric and use them to dress the jars with the chutney in and make a nice homemade lable. Don't forget to sterilise the jars before you put the chutney in and to place a circle of wax paper over the chutney before you put the fabric and the lid on.


Sterilising jars can sound scary but all it really means is heating them up enough that any germs are destroyed. This can be done by putting the jars through the dishwasher cycle, or if you don't have a dishwasher then put them into a hot oven for twenty minutes.This chutney will keep, unopened, for around six months. Once it is opened it should be kept in the fridge, if there's any left that is. I know my own family love this chutney so much they have been known to eat it on its own!



3lbs red onions peeled and sliced.

8 fluid onces red wine vinegar.

4tbsp balsamic vinegar.

3tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

12oz Soft dark brown sugar.

3 Garlic cloves, crushed.

2tbsp Wholegrain mustard.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Small amout of dried chilli flakes, optional, depending on how hot you want this!


Gently fry the sliced onions in the oil over a medium heat until they are softened, this should take around ten minutes. Add four spoonfulls of the dark brown sugar, turn up the heat and cook until the onions are browned and caramelised. Next add the remaining ingredients and simmer for ten minutes until the chutney has become sticky and thick. The chutney should be a rich bronze colour. Allow the chutney to cool a little and then spoon it into the sterilised jars. You can also make this chutney with white spanish onions.


Use this chutney to spice up some ordinary meals.


If you have any little bits of leftover cheese, grate them and add a generous spoonful of this chutney, make sandwiches and then toast them under the grill until the cheese has melted. For a great supper dish make toad in the hole - cook sausages (meat or vegetarian) in a baking dish in the oven in a little oil until almost cooked, add a batter and cook until golden and well risen. Make up some gravy and then add three or four large spoonfulls of the caramelised onion chutney to make onion gravy, pour over the toad in the hole and serve hot.

For many more vegetarian and vegan recipes, tips and ideas please find time to visit my blog.


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  • GALAXY 59 profile image

    GALAXY 59 7 years ago from United Kingdom

    Hi there, CarolineChicago. Don't worry about canning as long as you sterilise everything, including your hands before you prepare food you will be fine. But yes, this recipe will freeze very well. Wait until it cools completely before freezing and put it in plastic containers not foil as I find the vinegar reacts with foil and makes this taste funny.Defrost overnight and give it a good stir before you use it. Let me know what you think of it if you do make this chutney.

  • CarolineChicago profile image

    Caroline Paulison Andrew 7 years ago from Chicago, IL

    Sounds delish! I just have a major fear of canning--worried I'd not be clean enough and we'd all get botulism. Is this good to freeze?