October 14, 2010

Garden Clean Out Chutney

I've had it on my list to make chutney all summer long but somehow it always got pushed aside by jellies, jams and sauces, not to mention everyday cooking. But finally, finally, I got around to it yesterday and now I have two lovely jars sitting in our pantry waiting to be eaten up throughout the winter.

I haven't always been a chutney person. When I was doing my student teaching, my mentor teacher gave me a jar of kumquat chutney for Christmas. It looked beautiful, but I had no clue what to do with it, particularly on our ramen noodles for dinner budget. It sat in our fridge for ages, eventually getting stirred into some kind of stew I believe, before it went bad. What a waste. But hey, I was young and clueless.

When Briton was about two I fell in love with Indian food. Hard. I'd had curries before, but mostly of the homemade and basic variety. It wasn't until we were living in Dublin, where curry take-out is the norm and fantastic Indian food can be found cheap in almost every neighborhood center that I really discovered it, and chutney.

And then our supper club had a burger extravaganza and one of the offerings was a lamb burger with goats cheese, good mustard and sweet-savory chutney (try it! you'll never look at a burger the same again!) and I finally got what all the chutney lovin was all about.

It's a good thing I finally got around to making some then, eh? I'm calling this Garden Clean Out Chutney because most of what's in it was what was left when I ripped out everything from three of our four beds. But I could also call it Pantry Clean Out Chutney, because it also has some strange-o things that I pulled out of the back of our shelves (chili spiced mango from Trader Joe's anyone?) After reading a bunch of recipes though I think you can use pretty much any combination of fruits, veggies and spices that you have hanging around, but here is what I made:

Garden Clean Out Chutney

4 cups diced green tomatoes
1 cup diced green apples
1/2 cup raisins
1 small jalapeno, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped dried chili spiced mango ( you could just dried fruit, but then you want to add chili powder to taste)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 T salt

Mix all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan. Simmer on medium until everything has muddled down and reduced by about a third. Pour into sterilized jars (this makes about 2 pint jars, I used 1 pint jar and one of my tab top jars because I needed an excuse to get down my Wide Mouth Jar Rubber Box and have a laugh) and process as you would with jam.