Runner Bean Chutney

DSCF3417We bought some runner bean um .. seeds? beans? to plant this year – along with most of the other things we bunged into the ground, it was a massive experiment.  We’d never grown them before and really didn’t know what to expect.  Well .. we had a rough idea as my Dad grows them regularly .. but its a different pole of beans growing them and tending them yourself, as opposed to looking at his huge contraptions draped in green stuff.

I bought a bunch of canes and basically made up some sort of framework for them to grow up, but my Dad had mentioned he’d only had less than half of his beans come up, so I thought I’d increase my chances and plant double what I needed.  I hadn’t realised I’d bought the bean/triffid cross variety …

They went mental.  You could virtually see them growing.  They got to the top of the framework I’d built and, even when I’d snipped the tops off, they still kept going up (apparently they can keep growing from below and push the tops up).  I probably missed a few tops too, because every single bean sprouted and it got difficult to keep track.  On the plus sides … we’ve not had ANY need to buy beans this year.  The flowers are lovely and the bees have been in buzzy heaven.

On the down side .. I’m really not THAT keen on runner beans – I prefer French Beans .. only at the time I hadn’t really worked out the difference!

Anyway .. one of the recipes we discovered early on (my sister-in-law had made some from her crop the year before) was this chutney … it’s gorgeous.  It’s sweet and spicy with just enough crunch.  It goes really well with ham, sausages, pork pies and various sandwiches such as cheese or bacon … we’re regularly discovering new ways to enjoy it!  Which is probably just as well, considering the crop we’re getting!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cardamon seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 120 ml vegetable oil
  • 225 g sugar
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 750g runner beans, topped & tailed and chopped into fairly small chunks
  • salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Soften the onion, garlic and spices in the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the sugar and vinegar and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and simmer for 30 minutes.

I would recommend starting off with about 1kg of beans, as you reduce the weight when you top n tail.  Also .. for those larger beans, I tend to use a peeler to run along the edges to remove that “stringy” bit you sometimes get.

I cut mine into fairly small chunks .. perhaps 1cm long … but it doesn’t really matter .. it is down to your preferences.  Just remember that it still needs to be easily used later!

This makes around 3-4 standard jam jar sized jars.  Pack the beans down well, and fill any gaps with the liquid left.

Enjoy 😉

Spiced Beetroot and Orange Chutney

One of the things I mentioned recently was a glut of extra produce we’ve had in the garden this year.  It has been the first year we’ve grown more than a few tomato plants and a few bits n bobs, so we were (still are) complete novices about how much different plants grow and produce.  I guess some of it depends on technical things like soil conditions and weather, etc, but we have learned quite a bit this year about different vegetables in particular – and we’ve also had to work out what to do with what we’ve grown!

Personally, I’m originally a “Yorkshire lass” – and do try to stick to those values as much as possible, mainly because they make sense to me .. primarily to try to be canny with my money and not to waste stuff.  That has lead us to trying lots of new recipes and spending hours researching what we could do with all this extra food.  Chutney is one of the main things with a lot of stuff, and so far we’ve made three different types – green bean, green tomato and beetroot.

They all have different things going for them and all have distinctive flavours and textures .. but currently my favourite (perhaps because I only just made it yesterday!) is the beetroot one.

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As far as time taken is concerned .. it takes less time than green tomato chutney (last time I made that it was a whole day job!), but more than the bean relish (about an hour, including preparation).

It is one of the most gorgeous smelling chutneys … it reminds me of Christmas … all those spices and orangey goodness.  Yummm 🙂

So … for your delectation, should you have a glut of beetroot, here is the recipe I used:

Ingredients:

  • 1½ kg raw beetroot, trimmed, peeled and diced (wear gloves!)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 eating apples, peeled and grated
  • zest and juice 3 oranges
  • 2 tbsp white or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 700ml red wine vinegar
  • 700g golden granulated sugar

Method:

In a preserving pan or your largest saucepan, mix together all the ingredients well. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for 1 hr, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is thick and the beetroot tender.

While the chutney is cooking, prepare your jars by running through a short hot wash in your dishwasher. Or wash thoroughly by hand, then put in a hot oven to sterilise for 10-15 mins. Once the chutney is ready, let it settle for 10 mins, then carefully spoon into the jars and seal while still hot. You can eat it straight away but it will be even better after a month. Will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dark place. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 2 months.

A few tips that may be of some use … remember to cube the beetroot into “chutney” size chunks; I’m really not very glove friendly, so I simply used some barrier cream on my hands (and allowed to be absorbed) before chopping.  It didn’t stop my hands getting coloured completely, but it certainly prevented the worst of it and, less than a day on, there is no sign of any staining left.

We had a little bit left over, so we had it, still warm, with a beef stew and some mash, and it was gorgeous 🙂

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