Friday, April 6, 2012

Tangy Mixed Fruit Chutney

It happened again, a tempting little package of chile-flavored dried mangos jumped into my shopping cart at Trader Joes. I know it wasn't on my shopping list, it just... happened. Was mango chutney on my mind, some food memory that popped up and transferred into action? Whatever the motivation, the resulting chutney was delicious.

Batch #1 of Spicy Mango Chutney had disappeared rapidly, spoonful by spoonful as we "adjusted the seasonings to taste." This second batch looked and tasted quite different, not better or worse, just different. Brown sugar replaced honey on the ingredients list and might account for some of the color difference. The citrus notes from a single lime and one small orange tipped the flavor balance away from sweet and slightly toward sour, a nice variation. 

Batch #2, Tangy Mixed Fruit Chutney, was still cooling on the counter when H. arrived for a visit. We did an official chutney taste test, sampling this latest version first on a teaspoon, and then topping smears of cream cheese on cracker after cracker. We agreed, this recipe is a keeper.

There was a minor kitchen disaster however, an operator error kind of thing. Somehow I neglected  to turn the burner off, put the empty but gooey pot back on the stove, and walked away. You know what happened next, right? The acrid smell of burnt sugar was my first hint of a problem. Sure enough, the grooved, nonstick inner base of the pot now sports a hardened crust, firmly welded to those rings and grooves. Sigh! one more kitchen project to add to the To Do list. Suggestions anyone?

Tangy Mixed Fruit Chutney

4 oz dried apricots, diced
8 oz package dried Trader Joe’s chile-spiced mangos, diced 
½ cup raisins
¼ cup currants
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 lime, seeded & diced small (yes, include the peel)
1 orange, peeled, seeded & chopped

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider or juice
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp ground ginger (or several coins of fresh ginger)
½ tsp garam masala

1 cup water or more, as needed/if needed for consistency
1 cup whole almonds (to stir into the pot off the heat at the very end)
  1. Chop the fruit (except the lime) into similar-sized chunks, about the size of a very large, fat raisin. Dice the lime (include both fruit & peel) into tiny slivers. 
  2. Add cider vinegar, apple juice and sugar to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over medium heat until just boiling, stirring until the sugar melts. 
  3. Add the cinnamon stick, curry and ginger; heat and stir briefly to incorporate. 
  4. Add the fruits and onion and return the pot to a boil, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Reduce the burner heat to the lowest setting possible, and simmer until the dried fruit is rehydrated, the lime peel softens and the liquid is reduced and thick, about 25 minutes on my stovetop. Add more liquid if needed. 
  6. Remove from the heat, add the almonds and let cool. Stir again to distribute the nuts. This chutney needs to be stored in the refrigerator and it’s recommended to hold it for at least a day to let the flavors blend. 

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