Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Imitation is the sincerest form of...chutney

I am a bargain hunter when I go grocery shopping. I often buy the vegetables and cheese that have been marked down because they are ABOUT to turn (or have possibly started already, as is sometimes the case with the vegetables) I do this because it MAKES you think of ways to cook/use a food. I sometimes also buy lots of things that have been marked down because they're sold in bulk. This offers another unique challenge: how can I make ____ into different, interesting, appetizing recipes before it goes bad?
I recently bought a bunch of garlic heads. Of course they were on sale. After pondering what to do with them, I remembered that my friend, VelkyAl, had made a roasted garlic and onion jam. I love garlic, I love onions, so....ding!

I was sitting at home yesterday, actually eating his delicious chilli chutney on vanočka with some cheese, and decided to get up and do it.

He also made it with beer, and I happen to have quite a bit of Burčak at my house. I love it, but don't want it to go bad (starts smelling like feet) so I thought I'd use that as a substitute for the beer. Also, it's a sweet drink, so that could take care of the sweetness!

First of all, I hate roasting garlic. The usual method, where you cut off the top of the bulb, bake it, then squeeze the cloves out is SO wasteful. You lose out on LOTS of the garlic and the resulting output is messy and ugly. So I took a few suggestions (mainly from VelkyAl) and did it another way.

take apart the bulb, throwing away as much of the papery covering as you can without exposing the cloves. Wrap the cloves up in foil. Bake at 350 F (170 C) for about 50 minutes. After that, you can pretty easily peel them and end up with gorgeous, golden cloves.

Now, I didn't really want a jam so much as I wanted something a bit more spicy/salty, so I followed the recipe albeit with a few modifications.

Garlic Onion Jam/Chutney

2 heads roasted garlic
4 largish onions peeled and chopped
2 tbs butter
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
3 tbs sugar (Note: I used splenda because I have way too much of it and need to get rid of it. No discernible difference)

1/4 c (125 ml) burčak (or other alcoholic beverage!!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Saute the onions in the butter on low heat until they are soft making sure they don't stick to the bottom. (LOTS of stirring. My arm still hurts)
add in ALL the other ingredients. Simmer and stir on low heat til it gets to jammy consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings if so desired.

Put into storage container of some sort.

It IS simple, but it's just a bit time consuming watching and stirring all the time.

Next time I think I want to make it a bit more indian: throw in some garam masala, etc. I may also try doing it again with raw garlic. Though the roasted does add a lovely mellowness.

Here's a picture: doesn't look highly appetizing, but tastes YUM.

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