Purple Onion Chutney Recipe

Sour-sweet and divine with Rabbit Parfait or Chicken Liver Paté

This chutney was designed to accompany my rabbit parfait, but in truth is divine with many things.  Mild blue cheeses such as Stilton, Gorgonzola, or Fourme d’Ambert make very happy bedfellows.

I love the vibrant colour that comes from the purple onions.  If you can find them, the slightly sweet IGT Calabrian onion “cipolla rossa di tropea” is a wonderful choice.  You will lose the colour but will get a similar richness with the Georgia Vidalia onion.

The choice of Guajillo chili is made for its smokiness and mild character.  A chutney also does well with a more piquant pepper, so you choose what works best for you, thinking mainly of what you are likely to eat it with.

Though you can enjoy it straight away, this chutney improves with age.  Properly jarred it will keep indefinitely and repay you with mellow splendour.  Packed in small jars, you will be in chutney heaven for quite some time.

  • 500 g purple onions
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 inch piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
  • 1 blade mace
  • 1 mild chili pepper, I like to use Guajillo for this
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar
  • 100 ml of acidic yet floral dry white, such as a pinot grigio or Sylvaner
  • 100 g mascobado sugar

Place the herbs into a muslin and tie.  Cut the onions in half, then make half-moon slices.  Then cut these half-moons into irregular lengths.  In a large cast-iron, enamel cooking pot, or similar, sauté the onions with the pouch of herbs on medium-low heat, to caramelize, stirring on occasion, and taking care that they don’t overcook.  About 20 minutes.

Deglaze with the red wine vinegar and stir well.  Then add the wine, reduce the heat to low, and cook, part-covered, stirring from time to time, for about an hour, until the chutney has thickened and the onions are soft.

Spoon the chutney into sterile jam jars whilst still hot and tighten on the lids.  Set aside someplace cool until ready, ideally for half a year or more.

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