If I could have a love affair with any one food, it would be cheese. Cheese understands me. Cheese is there for me when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m eating dinner or enjoying a glass of wine. Cheese goes well with, well, everything. There’s so many different kinds of cheese, different textures, different flavours, and so many ways to eat it.
Now, if you asked me to pick my favourite cheese, I’d have to think long and hard about it. I’d ponder the question, flipping from Gruyere to goat, cheese strings to Babybels, hard to soft. I’d probably have to do a bit of research, too, and try a little bit of every kind. You know, to be able to make a fully informed decision.
But, deep down, I already know what my answer would be. Brie.
Brie has my heart.
I would have no problem polishing off an entire wheel of brie all to myself. When it’s served at parties, I have to physically stop myself from eating it all. Must save some for the others. It’s difficult to share.
Especially when it’s baked. Baked brie is utter perfection.
Enter today’s grape and bacon chutney. It’s a wonderful combination of sweet and savory, salty and tart, smooth and crunchy. The grapes cook down into a soft, jam-like consistency, and the bacon adds a bit of crunch.
I find that it’s best served warm, but it can also be enjoyed cold. When making it, be sure to pat away as much of the grease off the bacon as you can. If you don’t, the grease will harden as the chutney cools, leaving little pockets of grease (not so appetizing).
This recipe yields about a cup of chutney, which will probably leave you with a bit left over, depending on the size of the brie you use. Store any leftovers in the fridge and eat cold or reheat in the microwave whenever you need it.
A few tips to this recipe:
- Yes, the recipe calls for whiskey, which gives it a bit of a hint of smokiness and brings out the flavour of the bacon. I don’t recommend leaving it out, but if you don’t have whiskey (or scotch) on hand, replace it with water, sherry, or brandy.
- Same with the wine. The grapes loose some of their colour as they cook, so adding the wine helps keep it an appetizing red colour. Plus, the wine adds to the flavour!
- The sugar is optional, feel free to omit depending on your taste. It really brings out the sweetness of the grapes, though.
- Slice off the top layer of the brie before you bake. This allows the juices from the chutney to seep into the cheese, plus it make the brie easier to cut when serving.
- Serve with crackers or small pieces of bread for a drool-worthy appetizer.
Now, I’m off to devour the rest.
|Grape & Bacon Chutney on Baked Brie|| |
- 12 slices bacon, chopped into tiny pieces
- 3½ cups red seedless grapes, halved
- ¼ cup whiskey (or scotch)
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup red wine (or water)
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Wheel of brie
- Crackers, to serve
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove from skillet and pat the bacon dry, removing as much of the grease as you can. Drain bacon grease from skillet.
- Add cooked bacon pieces, grapes, whiskey, vinegar, wine, sugar, cayenne, and cinnamon stick to the skillet. Stir to combine. Simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until grapes have started to break down and the mixture has thickened. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the grapes down to a chunky jam-like consistency.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Scrape/slice off the top layer of brie. Removing the top layer makes the brie easier to cut when serving, and it allows the juices from the chutney to seep into the cheese. Yum!
- Add brie to a brie baker, or wrap the bottom in aluminum foil (leaving the top exposed) and place on a baking tray. Add a layer of chutney to the top of the brie. Bake for 10-15 minutes until brie has softened. Baking time will vary depending on the size of the brie you use, so keep an eye on it. You want the cheese to be soft/melty to the touch, but not too soft, otherwise it'll be hard to serve.
- Serve immediately with crackers.