Pear Apple Chutney

November 29th, 2011 1 Comment

Chutneys—pungent enough to raise your eyebrows, but sweet and savory enough that you close your eyes and let out an involuntary groan of pleasure.  Eaten alone it should be almost too much flavor, and eaten as a condiment to chicken or beans or rice…it should make you glad to be alive.

 

There are SO many versions of a small side dish of ground-up-somethings, eaten in small amounts, to either complement or contrast the main dishes.  Salsas, relishes, chutneys, sambals, pestos, jerks, móles, ketchups—- even just writing those words make my salivary glands squirt!

I think this may become an ongoing topic of this site—The Condiment Series.

 

I find it highly amusing that as I’ve been working on this website-about-cooking over the last many months, I have found myself eating more and more simply.   Pinto beans with salt, kale and squash with no seasoning, grilled chicken, rice.   That says something about the fantastic flavors of garden fresh produce!  But occasionally I want that extra kick, that pow, that wow…lovely condiments that add a sparkle, like my ground jalapeno-onion-cider vinegar relish, or a pickle, or a chutney.

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There are both fresh and long-cooked chutneys.  In India the fresh were more traditional, and the British preferred the cooked.   Sometimes they have a bit of spice-heat, but not always.

Mango is more than often used with chutneys, and peaches are another favorite.  But they can be made with any fruit: rhubarb, pineapple, tamarind, pear, cranberry, plum, apple, fig, raisins, apricot, tomato (ripe and green), lemons, and my friend Britney made grape chutney a few weeks ago.  I recently made a mock mincemeat pie to use up my green tomatoes rescued from the frost, and it too has a chutney-like pow.

Common chutney seasonings are ginger, clove, cinnamon, garlic, lime, vinegars, mustard, coriander, allspice, chiles, lemon, peppercorns—many of the spices that shaped the world with their trade routes.

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Right now I have pears and apples, so I’m navigating down that route.  This is an alteration of a cooked chutney from the The 1997 Joy of Cooking.  I reduced the amount, added apples, substituted ground mustard for mustard seed, ginger juice for fresh ginger, and fresh jalapeño for dried chiles. Sometimes you just go with what you have! I would imagine you could put a Mexican twist on this, using dried ancho chiles, pineapple and lime and oh yes that sounds good, we may have to try that.

Lastly, I will give my mantra to you: Taste it.

Throughout the cooking process of anything, taste it as you go, it keeps you versatile. The recipe cannot predict whether your fruits are sweet or tart, if your spices are old or fresh, if the onion was mild or strong—the same variety of foods can be so very different depending on climate, soil, the year, when it was picked—the variables go on and on. Taste and adjust if needed. That line should be included in every recipe.

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Pear Apple Chutney

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours

 

Zest and juice: (if you don’t have a zester, try a grater, then finely chop the rind)

1 large orange or 1 large lemon

Combine in a stainless steel saucepan with:

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 – 3/4 cup brown sugar (you can use other sweeteners like honey, sorghum, etc.)

1  1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground mustard (or 2 tsp mustard seeds)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 jalapeño, diced (or more if you want more heat)

1/8 tsp cloves

1/8 – 1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins

1 apple, diced

1 under-ripe pear, diced

1 roma tomato, diced

1/3 c onion, diced

1  1/2 tsp ginger juice ( or 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated)

1  clove garlic, minced

Simmer uncovered for 1  1/2 hours, stirring often.

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Then stir in:

1/2 cup apple cider

2 Tbsp cider vinegar (optional, taste it first)

Simmer another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

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Stir in:

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

Taste and adjust as needed.


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Let cool.  You can store it at least a month in the refrigerator, or can it, or freeze it.

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Serving suggestions:

-With cheese.  A mild goat cheese, a strong cheddar—this chutney would get cozy with any of them.

-On a leftover turkey sandwich

-With salmon

-With rice and lentil dal

-On grilled chicken or pork chops

-With lamb, done any way you want

-With steamed broccoli and cauliflower

 

A GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT! 

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1 Comment

  1. Debra K. Masek says:

    This is absolutely wonderful!!! I bought a box of pears just to try this…I made this recipe times 4 and got 8, 1/2 pints that I immediately canned…after licking the spoon many times!
    Love your ideas! Thank you for sharing.

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