One of the best gifts I ever received was a basket filled with homemade preserves and pretty cloth napkins. I really appreciated the delicious goodies and loved that my really busy friend took the time to make something with her own two hands. This year, I plan to treat my friends and family to loads of homemade goodies, and I'll be making extra to serve at various holiday gatherings. I'm going to start by making this delicious chutney. The tangy flavour of the cranberries blends perfectly with sweet, caramelized onions and I think this year I'll use a spicy balsamic as well to kick up the flavour. I've got a great timesaving tip for you too! Many of my favourite recipes call for caramelized onions, but it can take a long time to get that deep golden colour and rich flavour. I’ve discovered a great new way to prepare them: Put the sliced onions in a dry pan with no salt or oil and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat for five minutes, until browned. Then add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook for just 5 minutes more, until nice and soft. Just like my yummy no-cook pear chutney, you can serve this versatile condiment with roasted meats or even on a cheese board; it's especially delicious as an appetizer, on top of slices of baguette or crostini spread with goat cheese. Keep a jar or two of chutney in the fridge along with some goat cheese and you'll be all set for spontaneous entertaining!
Start by caramelizing the onions. You can this the low and slow way by adding oil and onions, then cooking over medium low heat for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Alternatively, follow my tip for the faster method by cooking the onions for 5 minutes in a dry skillet, then adding a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes more.
While the onions are cooking, chop about 2/3 of a cup of cranberries, either fresh or frozen. You want to end up with 1/2 cup of chopped cranberries.
Once onions are caramelized, drizzle the balsamic and maple syrup over top, then add the chopped cranberries. Stir to blend well.
Continue cooking, stirring often, for about 3 – 5 minutes, until cranberries have softened and liquid has been reduced.
Transfer cooked chutney to a clean jar and refrigerate for up to one month or follow instructions for hot water bath processing for longer storage on a shelf.
Serve over baguette slices or crostini which have been spread with softened chèvre; top each one with about 2 teaspoons of the chutney and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
Makes approximately 1 cup of chutney.