Fire-roasted spicy peach chutney

Peach chutney is a South African essential – needed for everything from bobotie (baked curried mince dish), to vetkoek (deep fried savoury donuts) and even toasted cheese and onion sandwiches. It’s also pretty great with a cheese platter.

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The batch I made three weeks ago just ripened and it is DELICIOUS, so here’s a winning recipe to make your own.

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This one is quite Indian based, with lots of spices – cinnamon, basil, cumin and more – and much less sweet than a typical peach chutney.

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I love making jam and a chutney is basically a spicy jam, cooked until it’s really thick, and left to ferment for 2 – 3 weeks. I really adore chutney and had so much fun making a pineapple one last year that got absolutely demolished. So when my mom and I saw 6kgs of peaches for R100 at the Pretoria Farmer’s Market, we couldn’t resist buying them.

Naturally we listened to this song the entire time.

Ah and look how beautiful the chutney is with cheese and crackers. It is seriously delish with a hard-ish cheese and some crunchy crackers.

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By far the most tedious part of the job is pitting and charring the peaches.

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Charring the peaches adds a delicious caramalised, sugary richness to the chutney, and also helps you peel off the skin (very necessary and also tedious). It makes more sense to remove the skin while adding a depth to the flavour profile, and though it took FOREVER with 5kgs of peaches (we kept 1kg to eat) it was completely worth it for the finished product.

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FIRE-ROASTED PEACH CHUTNEY

Makes 12 x 365ml jars (with a touch extra). You can easily make a third of this recipe for a far more manageable amount of chutney. I give both amounts in the below recipe.

Based on a Jamie Oliver recipe and this recipe

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Ingredients

  • 5.5kgs whole peaches | 1.8kg
  • 900g sugar | 300g
  • 6 red chillies | 2 red chillies
  • 3 thumb sized pieces of ginger | 1 thumb sized piece
  • 3 bunches of fresh basil | 1 bunch
  • 4.5 teaspoons cumin seeds | 1.5 teaspoons
  • 9 cloves | 3 cloves
  • olive oil
  • 750ml apple cider vinegar | 250ml
  • 6 red onions | 2 red onions
  • handful of cardamom pods
  • 3 cinnamon sticks | 1 stick

Method

  1. The longest part of this whole process is skinning and de-pitting the peaches! Cut each peach lengthways, and twist open. Use the knife to score along the pit, and use your thumb/ the knife to dig it out.
  2. Turn a griddle pan or braai on and heat up until scorching hot. Place the peaches skin-side down on the hot surface, and let them really blacken. This takes about five or so minutes, and it gets the peaches soft, caramelised and deliciously juicy. The black parts come off with a gentle rub or pinch, and the peaches need to be skinned.
  3. Put your cumin and cloves in a pan, and toast for a few minutes or until they get very aromatic. Using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, bash them up until they’re a medium fine powder.
  4. Chop up your onions, and finely peel and chop up the ginger. Pick the leaves off your basil, and chop up the stalks. Put all of these in the pan with some olive oil and cook slowly, with the lid on, until they’re really soft and sticky.
  5. Prick the chillies with a knife (so they don’t explode!) and poke with a knife. Blacken and roast in a pan, and leave to cool. Carefully deseed and slice.
  6. Chop the peaches up and add to the onions with the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, cardamom and ground spices, and some salt and pepper.
  7. Stir and get it to boiling point. Leave it to simmer for about an hour, until it gets thick and sticky.
  8. Carefully spoon the hot chutney into hot, sterilised jars and turn upside down to seal.
  9. Leave for two weeks until fermented and enjoy with curries, a cheese platter or a even a sandwich.

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