Now, chocolate is not of course a complete stranger to savoury dishes so I can’t say I’ve invented something radically new here. In fancy restaurants I’ve been served sumptuous chocolate sauces with roast venison and partridge, while at home I’ve added chocolate to a chilli con carne. But I’ve never come across chocolate in a chutney before.
I have though tried, and very much enjoyed, a chutney featuring chocolate stout. Last Christmas, my not-so-secret Santa gift from my mate Sam in the office was a jar of chocolate stout, plum and chipotle jam from Ginger Beard’s Preserves. It was very, very good and got me wondering: if chocolate stout works in a chutney, then couldn’t chocolate itself work rather well too? It took me a few months to finally get around to it, but I eventually put my hypothesis to the test.
And I can confirm, chocolate does indeed work in a chutney. Well, I think so anyway but not everyone might agree. I mentioned it in the office and a few colleagues made intrigued noises, so I took a jar in to carry out some taste testing one lunchtime with cheese and biscuits. I think it’s fair to say it got a somewhat mixed reaction, although I’m pleased to report my friend Sam loved it and happily polished off the lot.
The chocolate adds a deep, rich flavour to the chutney, and yet if you don’t know it contains chocolate you’d be hard-pressed to say what the secret ingredient was – although the intensely glossy brown sheen to the preserve might give it away. I find it very moreish indeed and it partners well with cold meats, a good mature cheese, or even a sausage sarnie. It’s rather like a posh brown sauce, and I do adore brown sauce…
Chocolate, apple and blackberry chutney
Makes 2 large jars – here are some tips on how to sterilise
1 medium onion
250g brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp salt
350ml cider vinegar
100g dark chocolate
Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Peel and finely chop the onion.
Place all the ingredients, except for the chocolate, in a large pan, give it all a good stir and bring to the boil. Simmer gently over a medium heat for around 30 minutes until the chutney thickens. Break up the chocolate into pieces and stir in. Stir and cook gently for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Spoon into your sterilised jars and screw the lids on tightly.