Pickles, Ketchup, and Chutney: David Atherton's Recipes for Chili Jar Gifts

Pickles, Ketchup, and Chutney: David Atherton's Recipes for Chili Jar Gifts

We all have our own traditional Christmas dishes, but each can be given a new dimension with seasonings. These Pickled Roasted Beets pair wonderfully with roasted potatoes and turkey; finely chopped, they can also be added to braised cabbage; and they'll make your cheese board sing on Boxing Day (or any other day).

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 40 min
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

800g small beetroot, unpeeled
190ml red wine vinegar
40ml balsamic vinegar
125ml water
125g soft brown sugar
1 tsp peppercorns
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp whole cloves
3g salt

Heat the oven to 200C (fan 180C)/390F/gas 6. Roast the beets on a baking sheet for one hour and 20 minutes, until the skins open. Once cooled, peel (the skin should come off easily) and cut into ½ cm sticks.

Put all other ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for three minutes.

Place beet sticks in sterilized jars, then pour over pickle liquor and seal. Beets will keep for three months in a cupboard and, once opened, for four weeks in the fridge.

Carrot and parsnip chutney

David Atherton’s carrot and parsnip chutney

My sister-in-law created the base for this chutney when she was trying to recreate one in an iconic Wensleydale sandwich. It is so simple and versatile; the addition of nigella seeds would make it perfect for curries, while the lime zest and chili would give your nachos another layer of flavor. Here, carrot is combined with parsnip, barberry, and star anise for a fragrant, festive twist. This chutney is more candied than sticky, so don't worry if it seems dry in texture.

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

250g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
150g parsnip, peeled and finely grated
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
, peeled and minced
50g barberries
200ml cider vinegar
250ml water
150g caster sugar
2-star anise
3 bay leaves
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
3g salt

Put everything in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Immediately lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes, until thickened; You will need to stir periodically to prevent sticking.

Transfer to sterilized jars (any excess liquid will thicken as it cools), then seal. Store for three months in a cupboard and, once opened, for four weeks in the refrigerator.

Christmas ketchup

David Atherton’s Christmas ketchup: great with leftovers from the Christmas roast.

There's almost nothing you won't dip in ketchup, and there's nothing better than a rich and spicy homemade one. This is a perfect gift, not only because it goes great with leftovers from Christmas dinner, but because the winter months call for fries, fritters, and empanadas, and they just won't be the same without this ketchup. Once opened, keep in the fridge and consume within a month.

Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

2 medium onions, peeled
100g celery
3 glugs of vegetable oil
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
Red chili
, chopped – you decide how much depending on how hot you want to go
2 x 400g tins of good-quality chopped tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
, peeled and minced
2 tsp salt
100ml cider vinegar
70g soft brown sugar
30ml maple syrup

Finely chop the onions and celery, put in a medium saucepan with the oil, and fry gently, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until soft and golden.

Add the spices, fry for another minute, then add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered, stirring well every 10 minutes, for one hour, until sauce thickens and reduces.

Blend until very, very smooth, then strain twice through a fine strainer into a pitcher. Pour into sterilized jars, seal, and store.

Festive marinated feta

David Atherton’s marinated feta

Feta (or Bulgarian serene, which is similar, but usually creamier) is a salty, tangy, crumbly cheese that pairs well with an earthy, sweet, and fragrant marinade. It can take on great aromatics, so experiment with your favorite flavors. Each jar will keep unopened for two months, but in my experience, it rarely lasts that long. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and use within three weeks. And once you've eaten the cheese, save the oil and use it to fry eggs or in dressings.

Prep 20 min
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

½ orange
400g feta-type cheese
3 garlic cloves
1 small bunch of thyme
30g dried cranberries
500ml olive oil

Cut the orange into thin slices, pat the feta dry with a clean kitchen towel, then cut into 1cm cubes. Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves, then rub the thyme between your hands to bruise the leaves.

In sterilized jars, layer cheese, orange, garlic, thyme, and cranberries, then pour oil to cover (fill with more oil if needed), seal, and store.

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